Watching the Superbowl can be a nerve-racking ordeal, somewhere between death and impotence on the stress scale—depending upon whether your team is winning or losing. (Here in New England, where Patriots fervor has reached bikram-fever pitch, even those of us who couldn’t care less about football could use a little stress relief going into the big game. If only to deal with our obsessed friends, neighbors, and significant others.)
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can breathe your way through every fumble, offside kick, and incomplete pass. When your offense loses ground, don’t hyperventilate, just breathe. When your defense fails to, well, defend, don’t hold your breath, just breathe. When the very worst happens and that Hail Mary pass falls happily into that scrappy receiver’s clever hands right in the end zone, winning the game with only seconds to spare and thereby cheating your team of yet another Superbowl victory, don’t beat your head against the flat-screen, just breathe.
Here’s a little half-time breathing exercise to go with your chips, dip, and Bud Lite. Close your eyes—or keep them trained on Madonna, your choice—and inhale deeply. Imagine your breath as the perfect throw of the pigskin, soaring through your chest, up your throat, past your third eye and out the top of your crown. Touchdown! Now exhale slowly, emptying your belly completely of breath. Repeat:
Breathe in calm, exhale anxiety.
Breathe in courage; exhale fear.
Breathe in victory; exhale defeat.
Namaste, football fans! May the most enlightened team win.