Optimal performance is living with ease while maximizing your effectiveness to accomplish your goals and objectives.
However, when the body is not given proper attention the sense of ease and the energy required to perform optimally are diminished. Tension results from subtle reaction to the stresses of daily life as well as the self imposed stress caused by mental attitudes and unskillful habitual thinking patterns. Fatigue and physical discomfort and disease become common. Effective life span is shortened.
What does it mean to give proper attention to the body?
On the surface it means getting enough of the right kind of exercise and eating well. On a more subtle level it means being in touch with physical sensations, particularly the breath, throughout the body.
On the most subtle level, paying proper attention to the body means being aware of one's energy. This aspect of body awareness is not yet verified by science, though it is founded on thousands of years of yogic tradition and contemporary personal experience. It is the realm of prana or chi - the life force.
Mindfulness of the body and it's sensations connects one to the immediate present, free from intellectual activity. Even when the experience of physical sensations is unpleasant, that moment of freedom from thinking is a moment of rest. It is that rest that ultimately invigorates and enables the kind of reflection that leads to the ability to perform optimally.
Note that exercise is relaxing. It releases endorphins that bring on feelings of well being and pleasure. Letting the mind get lost in obsessive thoughts while running or stretching, however, is counterproductive. While working out, attend to the body. Just feel the sensations. Let thoughts come up and pass away; don't follow them or embellish upon them.
While at work take a moment every so often to do the same thing. Come in touch with the sensations of your body, take note of your posture, even if for a moment. Take a few deep slow breaths. Imagine the breath moving through your entire body. Let go of any thoughts that might arise. Give your brain a rest.
Take note of your posture. A relaxed and erect posture is invigorating. It wakes you up, relieves unnecessary strain and on a subtle level allows the life force to flow freely. We are not suggesting a rigid military style attention. It is more like the posture of an athlete or dancer. Let your skeleton hold you up. Release unnecessary tension. If you keep your posture comfortably erect, straightening yourself up when you realize that you are slouching, you will feel more awake and be able to work more effectively, no matter what you are doing.
If you sit at a desk all day, make sure you get up every half hour or so to get your body moving. Gently stretch, take a little walk or just stand by your desk. Breath a few conscious breaths and feel the energy flow. If you are open to it, visualize yourself bathed in energizing light, breath it in, circulate it throughout your body and breath out any tension or unease. Go back to work with just a little more energy than you had before. That's all it takes, just a little more energy, to make a difference.
© 2012 Pitagorsky Consulting