Relaxation is the Key to Effortless Activity
[suggested meditation for this topic]
We have been sharing blog posts and meditations to increase your awareness of the body-mind and together we experienced the calming of the body and emotions and being in a place of harmony with our wishes and intentions. We shared last week, “calm the body and the emotions will follow”; “calm the emotions and inspiration will follow”. This week we will work together to calm the body so we can execute from a relaxed state and step into excellence.
Many of you have heard me share some of my experiences as an athlete and martial artist. I spent many years training for excellence. Time and time again, excellent performance, on the track, on the court, or on the mat, was the result of me being in a state of relaxed execution. A while ago, I started ballroom dancing instruction with Julianne. It has been an interesting transition from martial arts to dance, and the muscle memory for martial arts techniques sometimes gets in the way of ballroom dancing technique. At our last lesson, I had a break-through which was the direct result of being relaxed while executing the movements. Full disclosure, it took some work to get there and I will share the process.
When it comes to calming the body, the way you breathe is very important.* These four steps will support you in calming the body. As you get more effective with breathing the body will calm quickly and deeply when using these four steps. Smile and take a breath before any practice.
- Step one: Observe and Accept. This is fundamental to refining any process. Observe what you are doing, and accept that you are doing it.
- Step two: Focus on the feeling, rather than doing something to change it. This is very important. Put your attention and intention towards getting to to know everything about the feeling of every muscle and fiber.
- Step three: Imagine softness. You can either imagine the body softening of its own accord, or softness coming into the body, or softness as a response to something coming into the body
- Step four: Practice kindness toward the body. This is especially helpful when you have pain in the body, or if you are experiencing anger or resentment. Be kind to the body, as if it were a small child learning to do a new thing.
Repeat these four steps in progression, over and over for several minutes. In my case, I was doing this on the dance floor while going through the movements with the intention of observing, accepting and feeling. Once I was fully present with what I was doing, I relaxed and was able to move differently. You can also do this as a mental rehearsal of an activity during which you normally get tense. This process is also a very effective process for dealing with pain after you fall, or when dealing with chronic pain.
Pick one area in your life where you would like to have excellent results. Practice these four steps for one week and notice what happens.