We were watching Michael Phelps winning medals at the Olympics the other night, and one of the commentators remarked upon the calm in Phelps’s face as he tore towards the finish. He said that if a swimmer’s face tightens up, his whole body tightens up, and it slows him down.
I’ve been thinking about this relative to yoga. In classes and workshops, we’re told to relax our faces, and sometimes to smile. Mary Obendorfer gave me a hard time for biting my lower lip when I was doing something that was particularly difficult for me.
I’ve been trying to keep my face relaxed when I practice, and yes, it’s true, that my practice is “better,” when I’m not tightening up my forehead, biting my lips, and clenching my throat. Smiling helps. So does breathing into my face, if you know what I mean.
I guess this post leads me to think about what “better” means in my practice. I’m not writing about it tonight, though.