Breathe Into an Important Event
When it comes to a significant event or activity no one is immune to butterflies in the stomach, clammy hands, dry mouth, or the accelerated beat of our heart. Whether you’re getting married, giving a speech, addressing your co-workers, on a casting call, or defending a moving violation in court, often our nerves can get the best of us, causing us to feel powerless and inconsequential, which only make matters worse.
I’ve stood in front of sixty yoga students, many of which were disappointed that the teacher who was supposed to be there wasn’t. I anxiously wondered how I was going to pull off teaching a class on being peaceful in the face of stress when I was shaking in my yoga pants. After experiencing the jitters more than once and contemplating why, I realized I was only nervous because I mistakenly believed class was about “me.”
Many have been conditioned to believe that being nervous in an important situation is normal. Is heart disease normal even though it’s been rated as the number one killer in America? Just because something occurs often and has been accepted as “a part of life,” doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
If we have conviction, whether we’re teaching, advocating, or appropriately defending a point and we take the time to realize we truly believe what we are saying, that we’re making an offering to be of service, nervousness will fade. It’s not about us. If it comes from our heart and soul, and it’s not something that our ego has manufactured to feel better, bigger, and more consequential, the anxiety will pass. Our dissertation will be as natural and playful as convincing a friend that the flavor of ice cream we like is far better than theirs.
How do you know whether you truly feel and believe what you’re doing, saying, or getting involved in? Stop in your tracks. Sit if you can, and take these four steps toward “self-honesty.”
1. GROUND — If you’re standing, let your weight sink into the soles of your feet and allow your exhales to bring you “down to earth” so that you feel humble and close to your source. This practice creates a feeling of support.
2. BREATHE – With the tip of your tongue pressed lightly on your upper pallet just behind your two top front teeth, draw three breaths or more through an OPEN MOUTH and exhale through your nose with your mouth closed. This practice balances your energy.
3. FEEL — Notice any sensations in your body, any tension that you were not aware of only a moment before. As you breathe let any tension dissolve. Notice any negative thinking, such as, “I can’t do this.” Or, “I’m afraid.” Just notice without judging, or creating a story around it. This practice expands our awareness.
4. WITNESS — Observe the entire event in the exact order of this practice beginning with GROUNDING, followed by watching your breath and noticing your feelings physically and emotionally. This practice cultivates “non-judgment” and acceptance.
Take as long as necessary until you know that your actions are coming from your wisdom center within your body, and not from your ego. When we are faced with a life situation regardless of its magnitude and we feel small and attempt to use our “will” to compensate there is a good chance we will be nervous, but if we are connected to our truth and our breath we will experience an effortless flow because the world will always benefit from another present being. GROUND – BREATHE – FEEL – WITNESS
With Love & Gratitude,
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