Downward dog might do the job

Who isn’t familiar with it – before holding a presentation one often feels nervous, anxious or clouded with the consequence of inhibiting fluent and confident presentation skills.
Maybe practising yoga – an ancient tradition of postures, breathing techniques and meditation might be the answer to instead stay focussed besides experiencing less anxiety and confusion.

During a 8-week-intervention period, researchers recruited 60 musicians who participated in a competitive music program of the Boston’s Symphony Orchestra‘s academy and offered them daily yoga classes. By means of questionnaires, their mindfulness, mood states and performance anxiety were assessed once in the beginning as a baseline and after the yoga program. Compared to the control group of 43 musicians who did not engage in yoga, participants reported significantly higher flow states at the end of the program. The latter are enjoyable psychological states that are associated with a lower heart period and an increased respiratory depth in which no attention is left for distractions. Furthermore, participants indicated lower levels of confusion and a higher mindful awareness which is linked to a lower music performance anxiety. Together, this led to an optimized psychological and physiological state, enabling the musicians to be more focussed and be in the present moment.

So maybe next time when a challenging performance comes up in your life start practicing yoga beforehand – it might not exclusively enhance your performance but could also bring a richer and more meaningful life in general.

Butzer, B., Ahmed, K., & Khalsa, S. B. S. (2016). Yoga enhances positive psychological states in young adult musicians. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback : In Association with the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 41(2), 191–202. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-015-9321-x

Blog writer: Pia Schmoeckel

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