As a seeker of top level performance my whole life, in both sport and in music performance, I became drawn to the psychology behind it, eventually curating simple tools to use in order to be optimally prepared for each event, on stage or on the field.
I have a tendency toward anxiety and hyper-stimulation, and from a young age created little hacks to manage this.
During my studies in both Kinesiology and Music in University, I began to draw links between these my two great loves; applying Psychology of Exercise techniques such as visualization to my singing practice, and infusing the musical elements of rhythm and presence into my Dance and other Sport electives.
While nerding out with Psych texts was fun for me, I recognized that in order to integrate the learning, I’d need to practice the techniques over time. Truthfully, it wasn’t until I felt the difference in my mind and body before and during performances over subsequent years that I realized just how useful these practices were. I found my musical and sport performance to be both more personally enjoyable, while also being more effective. Huh.
Little did I know at that time, that I would also one day have a full roster of willing and hardworking fitness clients to share these principles with, and to develop and hone them further with practice.
In practice with clients, we work from a place of focus and awareness. We aim to be optimally stimulated. We aim to be relaxed and energized. We aim to have body awareness, feeling which muscles are initiating or stabilizing in each movement. We aim to cultivate singular focus. When I work with clients, I don’t always talk about these principles in depth but rather create an environment and set of cues that will immerse us in an arena of enjoyable and effective movement as a team.
Throughout my career, the learning has continued. I enjoy expanding my comfort zone by continually stepping outside it. Truthfully, it was pretty small to begin with. Everything scared me. Most things still do. Haha. Books, podcasts, courses, certifications, retreats, they’ve all contributed to my self-awareness and my ability to share, as a coach and as a human being.
One such adventure was a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Among so many other things I gained including understanding how my mind directly impacted my body, improving my ability to meditate (duh), learning how to sit still (lol), and learning how to shut up, I experienced singular focus on a deep level.
I have never before enjoyed the taste and texture of an orange so much.
I had never before noticed the deep and profound beauty of a droplet on a leaf.
I had never been so delighted at the sound of anything as much as those glorious woodpeckers.
I have never been so in tune with the deep and undeniable sensations in my body.
I had never noticed the subtle smells in the forest. The soil, the fresh air, the sweetness of the moss.
On that retreat, sitting still for ten hours a day cross-legged for ten days, many thoughts and sensations came up. I noticed things that had previously been in my ‘blind spot’. I became aware of some low-level anxiety. I noticed I woke up with it! I never knew that before. Maybe you can relate? With a little morning meditation, my mind and body relaxed, and I felt clearer, lighter, and less overwhelmed. I attribute it to acknowledging ‘what was’ within me. In other words, my body and mind relaxed when I paid attention to its signals without trying to change them. Who knew? Over time, I became slower to react, and less prone to overwhelm, frustration and anger. This is because I could recognize subtler messages in my body, and could take steps to mitigate them before they got out of hand. As I have been practicing meditation for years every day now, I also require less time to be get to my desired state, one of grounded energy. That optimal level of arousal. I want to share this with you!
Try it! Mini-Retreat:Walk through the woods and acknowledge and use each sense on its own for a few minutes each. Cultivate your ability to differentiate between them. It’s seriously fun. Not that serious. 😉