Today I want to talk about a technique that you can use to win performance anxiety.
I learnt it years ago from Dr Wayne W. Dyer, one of my favorite authors.
It’s a meditation called “Japa”.
Japa was developed thousands of years ago by the ancient Vedas and is a powerful technique that has immediate effects on your anxiety levels.
The strategy of Japa is to reduce the amount of thoughts that tend to crowd your mind during both your daily activities and, of course, your performance on stage.
Here’s how it works:
1) Choose your favorite sentence, anything that you like. A poem, an anthem, an affirmation.
2) Close your eyes, put your feet squarely on the floor and take five deep breaths.
3) While you do this,visualize on the screen of your mind the first word of your chosen sentence.
4) Attend the word for a few seconds and then immediately shift your attention to the following word. Spend some time visualizing it.
5) Now, shift back to the space between the first and the second word and stay there for a few seconds. Focus on the space between those words and if any thought or emotion arises, just observe them while staying in the gap. Continue breathing, slowly and deeply
6) while you are in this empty space,take a deep breath, slightly open your mouth and utter the word “ahhh” for as long as your lungs will allow you to do so. Do this three times.
7) Then go back to the word on your right and spend a few moments visualizing it.
8) Move to the next word of your chosen sentence and spend some time looking at it on the screen of your mind.
9) Now immediately shift back to the gap between the second and the third word. Spend a few seconds there, take a deep breath and say the word “ahhh” three times, each time for as long as you can.
10) Repeat this process over and over up to the last word your chosen sentence.
Altogether, the meditation should last between five and ten minutes.
So, now you have a new technique that you can start using immediately any time you like and, of course, before your gigs.
Just before going on stage, find a small and quiet room, put on some relaxing instrumental music and start to meditate.
Over the years, Japa has helped me develop more control of my thoughts and find a state of pure relaxation during my performances. I am sure you too will benefit from this easy but extremely powerful meditation.