Our body is our instrument and so to perform to our best ability it needs to be kept well tuned… This means eliminating any harmful tension or patterns that are rigid or unbalanced and prevent ‘perfect pitch’.
Thinking in terms of balance and alignment and freedom is an essential necessity for quality performance. If we pay attention at all times to our body and develop a sensitivity to ‘body awareness’ we will then notice any seemingly minor niggles or tensions.
Noticing is the first stage, and then being prepared to take action to align and clear and heal these issues, will put us in a position to enjoy our best performance.
There are many skilled therapists who can guide us to best practices to achieve this.
Thinking in terms of getting any harmful tension out of the body is the place to start…
Some of the deeper tensions within us can be activated by thought processes – fear of failure before competition; or of success – as well as physical practices – that have become habitually destructive for our body and so our ability to achieve our ‘top speed’…
And so attention to both areas – the emotional psychological aspects as well as the physical – can work in alignment..
How we think can affect our body, and of course having practices that relax the body and align, or tense it up, it can affect how we think.
So the basis of any training program should start with paying attention to the inner and outer tension, which are inextricably linked, and so in many ways are one and the same thing.
Going training for your chosen sport is of course a given – and this will alert you to any imbalances anyway.
Be aware at all times for signs that your body is ‘out of kilter’, for instance does one shoe wears down differently to the other? Does one side of your body get stiffer than the other…
Make it the priority to work consistently and gently to balance and to clear tension…
Notice whether the tension arises for or after specific training or in or before competitions…?
Becoming very self aware and being prepared to drill right down to the deeper levels within us, means that we will have a body that is tuned, alive and can then perform with fluidity and rhythm….
But be prepared to make this an ongoing practice.
I have been working on inner and outer balance all of my life…!
Life itself is a crucible for harmful tension to arise – and of course to perform at all and to live this life, we need a certain amount of tension, just to stand up and perform all the tasks we need to perform…
The secret is to have the perfect alignment within, and to find the perfect true balancing point.
Stillness within the motion…
It was the actor Fredrick Alexander’s tension that showed up in his voice getting croaky, that meant he spent time developing a technique the ‘Alexander technique’ to clear tension from the body. He originally developed it as a method of vocal training for other actors and singers in the 1890’s
It is now used worldwide, and essentially teaches us how to change faulty posture and improve mobility and clear away tension and stress in the body…
A very good place to start…
And there are many treatments to help align the body and alleviate tension and then it is up to us to implement the support work to help deepen this freedom from tension
Both in the form of inner clearing tension work, in the form of relaxation, clearing and meditation work, as well as stretching, strength and conditioning, yoga, Pilates… Whatever method works for you at the time.
Be prepared to take time… Unravelling and aligning, stretching and straightening, releasing all tension to allow yourself to be in tune and so perform to the best of your ability
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016. Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!