PERFORMANCE YOGA – 11.17.14 (MASTER THE MENTAL SKILLS – Mental Imagery)

The human brain is so cool!  

1.  Check out these facts if you have the time (http://themindunleashed.org/2014/04/10-surprising-facts-brain-works-2.html)
2.  Stumbled upon this TED Talk that I found pretty interesting as well.  Let me know how your brain does :).

Our minds are so intriguing.  The interesting part to me was when I looked at dreams from a different perspective.  The human body reacts to the mind’s creation.  We become agitated, startled, and even driven to the point of panic due to a traumatic event replayed or a scenario created.  In the same instance, we may become filled with joy, love, and gratitude due to a pleasant memory replayed or a scenario created.  The mind does all of this.

If the mind is capable of affecting our bodies in such a range of ways, then what is possible if we practice?  Through positive affirmations and mental imagery, is it possible to affect the physical?  Absolutely.  We often overlook the connection between the two.  Growing up, I spent a lot of time practicing the physical movements for football, basketball, tennis, cross country and other hobbies.  In my adult life I have turned to rock climbing, mountain biking, road cycling, ice hockey and yoga.  My goal was to perfect the physical movements of each.  I forgot one major variable though.  My mind.  Yoga, as well as athletics, ask much more of us than just the physical body.  Are you as intrigued as I am about what our minds’ can manifest?

Mental Imagery – Visualize to Actualize

“See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body.” – Master Swordsman Yagyu Munenori

Mental imagery, popularly referred to as visualization, is the process of using all your senses to help with learning and developing new sports skills and strategies as well as visualizing success.  The more you deliberately practice, the better you will become at the actual task.

Specifically, imagery works to enhance one’s performance by sharpening the mental blueprint and strengthening the muscle memory for the physical purpose at hand.

The brain does not always differentiate between real and vividly imaged experiences because the same systems in the brain are deployed for both types of experience.  For example, a common nightmare is that of being pursued.  The dreamer is safely at home in bed yet awakens frightened – breathing fast, heart pounding.  It’s all in the mind, yet the dreamer experiences the physical sensations that would accompany a real, waking pursuit.

BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind:  How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow  (BUY IT!)

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