Everyone has heard of spoken affirmations. I believe in affirmations, this morning I repeated the affirmation "I am empowered" throughout my yoga class. The truth is though that words are powerful, however, the body is even more powerful. It isn't until you FEEL the affirmation that things really start to shift. Once I had my body stand strong I really felt the impacts of saying "I am empowered". Once my body got with the program I felt stronger, more energetic and happier.
We always think that stress starts in the brain but the truth is that the body communicates more with the brain than the other way around. If the body is stiff the brain thinks that it has to work in overdrive because the body is in harm's way.
Let me tell you about this beautiful and pesty little thing called the vagus nerve. This nerve, also known as the "wandering nerve" travels from the skull throughout the whole body. To the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. The vagus nerve helps regulate all major bodily functions; breathing, heart rate, digestion, and how we process experiences. So this bad boy is kind of a big deal.
When people have a "high vagal tone" meaning a healthy vagus nerve their brains and bodies are more resilient under stress. Yoga strengthens this nerve significantly, especially through yogic breathing.
So this whole "power pose" is a powerful position...
Next time you are entering the ring with some jitters think about first placing the body in a confident position. Then reaffirming with a spoken affirmation like "I am a professional" or "I am confident" and aid it with a smile or an authentic laugh to signal to the brain that you are relaxed so you can focus on the things that are going to go right in the ring not wrong.
Great asanas for this are anything that gets your head below your heart:
Legs up the wall and doing a breathing exercise.
Crunched for time and can't get a mat? Just do any sort of forward fold and exaggerate your exhales so that the nervous system can restart and slow down.
BREATHE always breathe. Breath is our life force.