What is your storm? Where do you need to remain calm so you can really thrive and not just get by?
I can remember when my daughter was a competitive volleyball player. There was so much pressure not only to beat the other team but for her position on the team. Brutal pressure, that at age 13, made the sport unnecessarily un-fun.
I was a competitive athlete in an individual sport which was a different pressure that I had experienced. Yet, when I played on my college team I remember how hard it was to always be fighting for your spot on the team. Playing against other teams was easy but always vying for a place on my own team was the harder challenge for me. During one game at an all day tournament one of her team-mates began hyperventilating from stress and anxiety. They rushed her off the court and into the medical station. I followed, as her parents were not at the event that day. I felt like she needed support. She could not breath at all and was gasping for air in a panic. I grabbed a brown paper bag and had her breath long and deep into the bag. She started calming down and getting air. Finally we just sat, breathing. And eventually she felt better and was able to return to the game.
We so often forget that the breath is the gateway to the mind especially when we are in a high stakes or high stress situation. This can also relate to road rage or just frustration in general when someone is really bugging you. We've heard it said: "take a breath" but in those stressful settings, we forget. Next time, stop yourself and go inside to the breath. Hold the breath and count to 10, then exhale counting to 10 so that it is an equal inhale to exhale and do this until you feel the shift in your energy. If 10 is too long then count to 5 but also do that exhale to 5.
Be the boss of your breath, conscious of the inhale and exhale, you are in charge of it instead of letting the breath (or lack of it) control you. This simple technique is how you can begin to control your mind, thoughts and focus. Try this out for yourself. When you feel irritated, even if it is waiting in line at Starbucks or the grocery store, but you can feel your anxiety rise. Take an inhale, counting to 5, fill up, then hold the breath for a 5 count and then slowly exhale to a 5 count. Do it at least 5 times. Then feel the sensation. All of this is experiential. Try it where you need it most. Let me know how it works for you and what your experience is. I would love to hear.
Courtney Gebhart, Life Coach, Kundalini Yoga teacher, and Human Being.