As I waited for my daughter to finish her roller ski practice this week, I watched biathletes, in their 20s, roller skiing the paved loops with rifles strapped to their backs. In the firing range area, they stopped to shoot at the row of five black dots, then resumed skiing.
I have always admired biathletes’ ability to transition from the cardio workout of skiing to the stillness of shooting a rifle. How challenging it must be to slow their heartbeat and their breath, steady their rifle, then get right back to racing again.
I don’t think that calm breathing is intuitive. In intense situations, most of go to a short, shallow breath. Even in my yoga classes, there is always the reminder to breathe through tough stretches and poses since there is a tendency to hold our breath when we are uncomfortable.
In high-pressure situations, at the Olympics, before giving a big speech, or even before giving birth, we are reminded to breathe. Full, focused breaths.
When do you most need a reminder to breathe?