Be an Olympic Champion in 5 easy steps

What did you notice this year?

beach, yoga, holiday, arms, breathe, open, freedomI noticed runners and swimmers getting faster, gymnasts defying gravity, athletes breaking their own records with staggering feats of physical strength, flexibility, accuracy and endurance – the human body is quite the miracle, don’t you think? How can they possibly keep evolving and breaking world records?

I simply marvel at the action replays with my mouth dropped open in disbelief that these most remarkable feats are actually possible – seeing really is believing, especially in slow motion. Not only the body, but the focus of  the mind, steely determination, fearlessness of the unknown, con
fidence and hope, trust in what’s possible, going beyond your limits, opening doors to freedom, surprise, a journey, emotion, evolution and simple dedication – sounds a bit like yoga to me, but then it would, wouldn’t it!

So here’s 5 steps to becoming your own Olympic Champion

  1. arm, raise, surya, namaskar, breath, olympicsFind a movement you take for granted – eg. take your arms up overhead – instruct yourself out loud asking your body to raise the arms up and bring the arms down and back as far as your natural range of movement comfortably allows. Do this at a pace the feels natural to you. Feel free to change it to any everyday movement that you take for granted and that is easy for you.
  2. Speed up – Start to go faster, using the arms to explore up and over, down and back, all different directions to warm up the arms, joints and take your focus into the feeling and sensation of the body itself, how are you breathing? Go as fast as you can without strain and feel the temperature of your body and which parts you feel getting tired first – see what you notice about moving faster than usual
  3. Close your eyes – start to slow down the movement, slower and slower until you’re moving in slow motion, much slower than usual. Your own action replay – observe the detail of the movement, moment to moment, and notice what happens as you change the position of your arms second to second –  Slow it down to an Olympic action replay – Can you feel into the miracle of the body? Notice all the things that need to happen to make this simple movement, a movement you might not even notice, it seems so natural. This could be the movement of your breath or movement of energy just as easily as a  movement of your arms so adapt this practice to suit your unique and wonderful body.
  4. Notice in stillness – Come to a standstill and take your attention into a part of your body that feels this miracle inside of you. Stay with this mindful practice for a few minutes and take some time to thank your body for the life it gives you, the automatic functioning it does without your intervention, the unconditional love it gives you to protect you, heal you and show you infinite possibilities. Your body is your hero, your champion – celebrate!

  5. child, pose, arms, quiet, stay, relaxOptional step!
    If you’re a yoga practitioner and like a good physical asana practice on your mat, use a sequence you know or make one up – practice the same sequence everyday for a month. Make sure you warm up well and include some physical postures you find challenging to hold and make a commitment to practice every day and hold poses for a little longer each day.  By day 30, you may be doing something you never thought you could.Notice how this practice makes you feel – does that help to overcome fear or limiting beliefs, or does it make you feel inadequate and want to give up? Give it a week at least to find out if this kind of practice works for you and if it does, carry on with burning enthusiasm and dedication. If you’ve given up, go back to the miracle of simply noticing your breath and take a few breaths in slow motion when you remember.

So here’s the new Olympic sport for you to invent – be an arm raising champion, a breathing champion, digestion gold medalist…choose your event, wonder at your body’s intelligence, be your own champion, and reward yourself with a medal for excellence.

Hope the inspirational athletes in the Paralympics in September 2016 bring you joy and wonder.

Let me know in which event you’re awarding yourself a medal.