Keep your head in the game | Yoga & You


If you do exercise regularly and read a book or text when you’re on the treadmill, you’re getting less than two-thirds of the full benefit of that exercise.

I have been involved in physical training for over thirty years. The most important principle involves three factors; focus, awareness and form (FAF).

Focus on what you’re doing. Be aware of your breath. Is it labored or smooth? What is your body position?

In my experience, FAF is the difference between long term success or gradual decline.

If you’re chopping vegetables and you’re focused totally on the activity without any distracting thoughts, you’re aware of the smoothness of your breath and feeling no tension in your body; you are keeping your head in the game. In yoga, this is called meditation.

And you won’t cut your finger.

— Yoga tip: Trouble falling asleep

Practice: Close your eyes. Begin breathing slowly and evenly from the belly. After a minute or so, lengthen the exhales until they are about twice as long as the inhales. Pace yourself so that you are comfortable with this breathing pattern.

Theory: Breathing from the belly tells your body, “It’s time to relax.” Emphasizing exhales releases muscle tension. Focusing the mind on your breath distracts it from thinking.

Comments: If your mind begins to wander simply bring it back to the breath. Breathe slowly so the breath feels cool as it passes over the bridge of the nose on the inhale.

Note: If nothing can be done about it; guilt and worry are a waste of time. “What you focus on expands.”

— Email Michael Szymanski at


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