This past Sunday I was downright nervous from about 2:30 until 3:45. I was petrified and stressed out about passing the Weblos Camp swim test. Swimming has never been my favorite thing in the world and I’ve always done the bare minimum for it whenever I’ve been swimming. Even though I love snorkeling and want to someday learn to scuba dive I get kind of freaked out when I start thinking about swimming.
If I passed the test I would be fine to do all the activities the scouts will be doing at camp this summer. Fail and I have not only shame and embarrassment, but I’d also have to find a way to talk my way into participating with the scouts as they do fun stuff like canoeing. That added pressure really didn’t help anything and I kept getting more and more tense as time went by.
When it was finally my turn my heart was beating pretty hard. I took a deep breath and started off. For the swimmers out there you’ll probably laugh at this test… it was three lengths of either crawl, sidestroke or breaststroke followed by one length of resting backstroke.
For the first three laps I kept focused on little wins, passing the flags, passing halfway, and starting a new length. By the time I flipped onto my back I was feeling better… until a bunch of water splashed up into my face from my arms flailing in a state of semi-panic. Then I heard my own voice in my head…
“Dude, find your breath. Breathe intentionally.” It was yoga advice in my brain. I slowed my breath and took control. Once I had that I realized that the stroke was just like yoga. During the motion of raising my hands over my head I inhaled slowly. As I pushed down to propel myself forward I exhaled. After a couple of cycles I laid back, totally relaxed, and finished fine.
As I was breathing heavily in yoga tonight I smiled and thought back to the swim test. It reminded me to take control of my breath and relax. While finishing up I couldn’t help but be thankful for how much yoga helped me through that swim test.