8The Red Baron Meets the Buddha

Imagine your mental focus as a Maglite. You can adjust the flashlight beam so that it’s super tight or very wide. Let’s do away with the clutter, bear down, and go tight. Concentrate on a single point 6–8 feet in front of you. As you breathe, bring your attention to the point at the end of your mental beam. Stay laser-focused on that point for seven breaths. This is called Riding the Breath. When you get distracted — and you will! — start over. Do three sets of seven breaths.

When life gets tough — stressful client situations, long-distance swims, tight deadlines — I rely on mental conditioning techniques such as Ride the Breath, described above. These practices help allay stress by recalibrating the nervous system, ...

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