Breathe, focus and win..

It was such a close game that the outcome was totally unpredictable, until the referee made a few bad calls in a row that favored the other team. With only moments between sets to recover their heated emotions, the boys couldn’t seem to regain the necessary focus to pull off a winning score.

After the game, Coach Fran Dunn called her friend, Rick Scott, coach of the Dal women’s Volleyball team for some sage advise on how to harness her excitable, yet capable players.

“Fran, I recommend what you taught me years ago. When a player becomes distracted or deflated, my girl’s know to begin Ujjayi breathing (a low hollow sounding yogic breathing technique). Then they find a line or a marking on the floor and focus their mental attention on the now.”

While the boys’ physical conditioning outshone their competitors, their lack of emotional resilience and mental focus sunk them. So much about sport (and life) requires mental fortitude to stay in the game doesn’t it? And wise Rick Scott mirrored back to Fran two effective principles of yoga, 1) breathing 2) Eye gaze.

Next time you notice yourself losing composure or becoming distracted, calm your emotions by stepping away from the situation and start your ujjayi breathing by gently contracting the muscles at the back of the throat, like you would to fog up glasses. Keep this contraction while breathing through the nose. This will make an audible rythmic sound. To anchor your mind on your desired outcome, find something neutral that can serve as a visual focus.
These fortunate teens are learning incredible life skills that many people go their whole lives without. Let’s join them in practicing our new yogic strategies this week.

Smoothe easy breaths everyone!