Skip navigation

The Project:

One Mustang directly off the range, One Trainer, Many Students

Communication through body language, Tools used only for safety, never to train

IMG_3291

The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

 

When In Doubt, Breath Out

 

It has been a stressful week. Wonderful stress, but stress none the less, and this body is feeling the effects. The Kickstarter has hit eighty percent funded for getting the documentary done! The end of the fund raising is in fourteen days and the excitement is palpable in the last push. Front_Of_Card_ELSAThis movie is really getting made. Please click here to see the trailer and help us hit the goal in the next two weeks.

 

The art of balancing my every-day work with students, my work at the computer connecting with an ever-expanding community about the movie, the physical work of keeping my barn running, and the juggling work of scheduling all the right people to all the right places at all the right times is exhausting. Some days it comes easily, and some days I wonder how long the body can function correctly on a sleep deficit with this degree of challenge and stress.

 

I sit down to write this blog and wonder if it is fair to write at this moment when I am perhaps not at my best. This is my 100th blog after all! Then I have to rethink that judgment – what if this is my best? And who am I to truly judge? Sure, stress isn’t comfortable, but it has its time, its place, and its uses.

 

A student brought up that same question recently; she said to me, “I feel like my anxiety and stress are making my horse uncomfortable, and I shouldn’t even be here”. In that moment my heart beat a little faster, and I felt for her in her moment of pain. None of us wants to spread that feeling around. So the real question becomes: How do I make this stress functional- For me, for my horse, for anyone who has to share space with me as I live through this._E0A0231The answer is not isolation or segregation. We are community; we need to reach out and bond with each other; that is how stress is eased and comfort is renewed.

 

We know that stress creates growth, and we know if we feed and nurture ourselves in times of stress it is a beautiful force of development, sculpting our life into the art it wants to become.

 

In a discussion with a teacher of mine a few weeks ago, she gave me this phrase that has been immensely helpful in recent events.

 

“When in doubt, breath out”

 

I have always known breathing is one of the keys and doing it better helps everything, but how do we do that when it feels impossible?

 

In the middle of an acute panic attack, or in the simpler moments of running late for a meeting, or riding an unpredictable horse, I will often hear the advice: Breath deep, breath again, keep breathing. And I try, fighting for breath after breath and feeling like I am failing, with every breath seeming more shallow than the last no matter how hard I try!

 

Here is why: when we are stressed, we feel as if we can’t get enough air into our lungs. So we inhale rapidly, forgetting to exhale fully.

 

We forget, breathing is something that happens naturally; it isn’t something we have to control. The body wants to breath!

 

So… When in doubt, breath out.

IMG_8618

Try it: breath out as far as you can and then a little more and a little more – every last bit of air you can squeeze out of your lungs until you really can’t get any more out – and then just let go. You don’t have to try to breath in; it just happens. And with that inhalation we didn’t have to reach for, or try harder for, comes a wave of relief and relaxation.

 

There is that idea again – work smarter not harder.

 

We know breathing better reduces stress, but we also know trying harder to do everything right increases stress. So, when it comes to breathing, just focus on the exhale and let the inhale take care of itself.

 

In life we often try to do too much, work too hard, and control every aspect we are aware of. This is what makes stress overwhelming and damaging. When we can look at everything like breathing, focusing on the piece we can change and then letting go to let life propel the rest, That is when stress is a beautiful sculptor of our lives.

 

Our output of energy into the world is like our exhale. We can pour ourselves into life with every ounce of energy we have, and then there is a moment when we must let go to see what comes back in naturally. That letting go allows us to take a moment, sit back and see what is being created. When we can see some changes happening, then the stress starts feeling functional, and we can focus our next effort, guiding life where we might like to go.

IMG_3296

There is a rhythm to this confidence in life. Breath in, breath out. Heart beat steady, footsteps sure. When this rhythm starts to feel too difficult, we know the stress – that can be a beautiful force in our lives – is losing functionality. When that happens we have to work smarter not harder. Breath out – fully, and then let go. Work hard – fully and then let it happen.

 

Here is to breathing being easy, and stress being beautiful! Let it roar! And then let life in!

 

Elsa Sinclair

EquineClarity.com

IMG_8746

2 Comments

  1. Breathing out fully is part of a (very simple) breathing technique I have been using for years to overcome chronic hyperventilation. It is SO simple and yet so powerful! And as you say, it’s such a relief to let naturally come in what comes in after having fully breathed out.

  2. Good advice especially with focussing on the exhale only


Leave a Reply to Jan Barratt Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: