Our lives go as our breaths go. Literally. If our breathing is chaotic, panicked, and disjointed our performance—and to a greater extent—our lives will follow. Chaos. Panic. Disconnection. It begins with the breath.
When we breathe smoothly and rhythmically, our performance will follow. We will operate with efficiency, rhythm, and connection. Our breathe is our guide. Let’s take a step back and review breathing.
Breathing is one of only two functions of the autonomic nervous system that is both voluntary and involuntary—the other function is blinking. Because our breathing functions under our control as well as an automatic part of our bodies’ operation, it is remarkably important listen to—to be in tune with. When we learn to tap into and control our breathe, we are well on or way to performing—especially under pressure.
Let’s take a moment to practice. Take a moment to inhale deeply with poise and control. Three seconds inhale. (Pause for a moment). Three seconds exhale. Three seconds inhale. (Pause for a moment). Three seconds exhale. Three seconds inhale. (Pause for a moment). Three seconds exhale. Practicing with our breath in this poised and controlled manner can have far-reaching and long-lasting implications. Here are some reminders for your next breathing practice:
However, let’s not expect to focus all of our energy on our breathing during the heat of competition. If we are thinking about controlling our breathe while we are performing, our attention is not where it should be. That's why we practice and harness this strength during downtimes.
After intentional practice, our controlled breathe becomes our default. And when controlled breathing is the default, during the pressure situations of competition, we need not focus on our breathe—we’ve already mastered it and can naturally react with efficiency, rhythm, and connection—cornerstones of optimal performance.
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