Peace at Hand's Healing Blog

Entries tagged "athletics"

Smile while you work. You'll feel better.

Posted on May 10, 2010 in: Advice - Tags: advice, athletics

This is not wisdom that I can take any sort of credit for.  Its actually an idea that my yoga teacher shared a few weeks ago.  She was talking about how common it was to see students putting on their "game face" as they tried to hold a challenging or uncomfortable pose, and how counter-productive that was.  "The advanced form of any asana," she tells us, "is doing it with a smile."

Its true.  Mentally, its harder to smile when we are uncomfortable or under pressure, but physically, smiling can make the activity easier. 

I've started trying to keep that in mind when I'm out jogging, and it turns out that it doesn't just sound good--its actually true.  When I'm running and I'm starting to feel worn out and I'm trying to get up another hill (If you don't believe that the DC area is hilly, go spend some time running or biking around the city.  Its ridiculous.) the first thing that happens is that my head drops and my shoudlers slump and my face gets  tense with effort and concentration.  The only thing that posture serves to do is make my breathing even more labored, and make fatigued muscles work harder.

Try it.  Rest your hands on the front of your neck, or even on your chest, just below your collar bone.  Now tense your jaw.  Tighten your mouth.  Frown a little.  Look like your concentrating, and feel what happens to the issue under your hand.  Maybe try to take a deep breath.  Not so nice, huh? 

Now smile.  Lift your chin a little.  Doesn't that feel better?  Didn't everything under your hands just get a little softer?  Does your breath feel more relaxed? 

The next time you're doing something challenging, whether its athletic or whether you're desk-bound, be mindful of your expression and see if you can do it with a smile.  Or, at least without a frown.  It really might make the task go down a little easier.