Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Performance Anxiety

There are some yoga poses that are for me a reliable indicator of performance anxiety.

These are any that require balance on one foot.

When I do these at home, I can balance for long periods of time with no problem.

When I'm in a class with other people, I have a lot of trouble getting into equilibrium and staying that way. I'm never conscious of any audience effect in yoga classes-- but what else could cause this difference?

One thing I've learned that helps when I'm wobbly. The Sanskrit word for it is drishtee, roughly translated as "point of focus." That means find a spot to fasten your gaze on and don't look to the left or right.

When I do that, pretty soon I'm maintaining balance. The same principle applies to working on a novel: just focus on the work at hand.

(The photos are at Rancho La Puerta where I've been teaching: the sculpture in front of one of the yoga studios, the one of me taken on the grounds just after I finished with my last class. This is a good example of how we unconsciously reproduce what we see or visualize. I passed that sculpture every day, but didn't realize I had copied the pose, and even dressed the part.)


billie said...

Peggy, what lovely photos! You look fabulous!

Clearly what is happening in the group yoga is that other people's energy is pulling you out of balance. :)

I love the point of focus idea - translates wonderfully to writing a novel.

Peggy said...

The other folks' energy I hadn't considered. It's not out of the question.

Anonymous said...

I just Googled "Drishtee Gaze" in the midst of my "sideways" writings for my dissertation. Lo and behold it led me to your Blog and your connection of Drishtee gaze to writing. I am in a bit of a "writer's moment" and found your analogy most encouraging at a most crucial juncture in my process. I just thought I would let you know that you assisted a fellow traveler. Thank you!

Inner Beauty

Peggy said...

Thanks so much for letting me know, Inner Beauty. I'm glad the thought was useful. I'm sympathetic. I've been having one of those writer's moments for the last three days. Focusing on the work is only thing I know to do--that and having ready access to my trusty sweet iced tea.

Come visit again, and update your story.