I have been mostly lucky I think throughout my sailing career to escape too many serious injuries (although actually now looking back I can see a few!!), but I have always had pains and imbalances that affected me while training and race. For the six years leading up to London I had rather consistent pain in my left should/trapezius area. I am good at ignoring things, so of course I just kept getting on with the job at hand.
About a week before I was due to leave NZ to London for the Games, I got a recommendation to go see Raewyn at iQ Pilates, who I continued to see for the next four years. She helped change my viewpoint on what is important, how I can use my body, and also how can look after my body. Raewyn is rather amazing, she has more degrees & diplomas than anyone would ever need, Law, Business, Sport & Teaching, as well as training in every form of interesting body balancing tool there is out there! She is constantly away up-skilling herself and learning new techniques, so trying to actually set up our sessions was always a juggle, as I am not in NZ much either!
She taught me a body awareness that I never had before, seeing her was the start of pain free competing and training, and also the start of my interest in Yoga when she recommended I go and see a lady called Stephanie Hall who had a Yoga studio in Milford. Raewyn of course was right 🙂 It was the perfect thing for me, not only the body balance, awareness and inner strength that yoga builds, but the mental quiet.
I tend to be a busy person (or keep myself busy) and I have tried for years to learn how to “just be” ie, on a day off, not rushing around tidying and baking and who knows what else, but to be able to just relax, to sit down and read a book, to just ‘be’, without ‘doing’. Errr.. Must admit I haven’t really mastered that yet!
With Yoga at least I can, I can take that hour and fifteen minutes to stop. The physical awareness that Yoga requires, keeps my mind in the now, I can let go (eventually) of the busy day, or the to do list I have for tomorrow, I find myself able to concentrate just on what I are doing (turn foot this way, twist hips that way etc) and my attention is finally present. The Savasana (relaxation) at the end of each session is the quietest period of my day, and the more I do it, the more I can carry even a little of quiet into the rest of my day or week.
For me it is the first clear form of ‘mindfullness’ I ever found, a subject I can dig into more at another time, as I have found many cross overs from the mind state or performing at the highest level, to now, every day living.