"Tradition is not to preserve the ashes, but to pass on the flame" - Gustav Mahler
In high school I was on the track and field team and participated in both. One of my field events was pole vault. Before I would take off and sprint down the runway with a seven foot pole in my arms, I would begin my pre-jump routine. I would step my left foot forward and then I'd bring my pole towards my right hip, locking it securely to my side. I would look straight ahead at my target, a plastic box at the end of the runway. I would breathe as I began to rock back onto my right foot. I would rock front to back three times before I felt I was ready to head towards the "pit." I would sprint as fast as my legs could carry me while balancing and supporting the weight of my pole. I would begin to lower the pole hitting my target, I'd pull back on the pole with my top hand as I had to let myself go and trust that I was in a good position. I would lift my legs and bring them together, toes to the sky, temporarily floating. Once my legs were high enough I'd flip myself in the air, now facing the runway, and push myself away from my pole. Falling and landing onto the pile of cushions in the pit. Now as a Crossfit athlete I have new traditions. When I walk up to my barbell, first I set my feet. The distance varies depending on the lift, but I always want to feel comfortable in my hips and my feet know where to go. I grip the bar with my right hand first, measuring the perfect distance with my thumb. Then I do the same with the left. I pull the barbell close to my shins feeling the cool of the metal. I sink my weight back into my heels as I engage my glutes by sending my knees out toward my little toes. I take a deep breath in, increasing my intrabdominal pressure, creating my own weight belt, and then I lift. I love the feeling of a successful lift. The barbell makes me feel so strong, confident and capable. I recognize that getting ready for my sport, in my way, helps me center and brings me into the present moment. Taking the time to be thoughtful and calculated in my set up allows me to connect my body and my brain. I become one functioning unit; ready for any mental or physical task that may present itself. Over time our routines change, just as we do, but they still exist. We carry them as memories and who knows; maybe someday I'll have a daughter or son that I teach to rock back three times before they take of sprinting towards the pit. Outside of sports, do you have any daily routines that help you prepare for your day? Maybe you have a favorite coffee cup that you use every single day. Perhaps that cup was your grandmothers and it brings you joy to remember her each morning. Is tonight's dinner an old family recipe? Have you adopted anyone else's ritual as your own? There are so many hidden routines within each of our days and I believe we don't even recognize them as they become a habit. I think that rituals in life and in sport are helpful. They bring us a sense of calm and steady. Do you have any pregame rituals that fuel you and make you feel ready to rock? Happy Monday! Dr. Ashley Moody
This week's reflection:
Do I take the time to warm up my body and mind before activity?
What is my favorite family tradition?
Is there a new tradition I'd like to start?