Mindfulness is much about being centred in one’s own body, in one’s being, moving through one’s day with a focused knowing of who one is and what one is being. We are aware of each present moment remaining conscious of our internal domain, what we are experiencing inside and of our interaction with others and our environment. We recognise the influences from within and from out-with. We notice our actions and reactions with an inquiring mind, leaving capacity to notice the background chatter of preferences and opinions. We neither become involved in our internal dramas nor deny them, they are a welcomed guest. Somewhere from this place of being calmness and kindness, towards others and our self, is cultivated and our day seems to flow smoothly reducing fear, friction and frustration. This is not to say that problems and challenges do not appear, they may, but they are met from mind and being states which sees them for what they are and we take them in our stride.
As skiers, when we inhabit this place of being in the body and mind, we are better able to experience the body’s intelligence and remain in a centred, balanced and comfortable state. We are aware of our environment, its influences over us and how it shapes our performance. From a centred being we gradually learn to let go of resistance and recognise how this manifests physically, technically and mentally. This state of mindfulness cultivates conditions which frees the body and mind to align themselves with the natural forces of skiing. Mindful skiers recognise that letting go of holding on, creates a freedom of movement and thinking which complements the forces in skiing. The acquisition of skills then flow more freely, skiing is less effort and more enjoyable.
Out of your head and into your body - shift from cognition to sensation
Mindfulness helps to move from a total head place, over thinking and analysing, to a body place - we shift from cognition to sensation and move between the two as required. Mindful skiers develop the faculty of knowing what is happening, as it is happening without preference, through the blending of a mind and body focus. Most of us know what it’s like to be totally in the head space as we try to sequentially think our way through complex movements and techniques at a speed of skiing which even the most sharp minded of us could not match. We know it’s inevitable that at some point we give up on thinking, and just ‘go skiing’. This is the body’s way of letting the head know that it’s time to let up.
Mindful skiers know how to access the sensations of skiing and understand the limitations of thinking, they realise that less is actually more, and are able to let go of the desire for control and in so doing the body moves more freely and skiing becomes more flowing and, controlled. They realise when it’s time to let up and they know how to access the body’s intelligence and recognise the sensations which they are experiencing as they are experiencing them – sensations only ever exist in each moment and that is the only time we are able to access them.
Copyright, John Arnold 2012