For me, I have found everything is better with relaxation.
In martial arts, the best fighters are relaxed. When I fight, or spar, I am so relaxed, everything comes easy to me, and my reactions are super fast. In that state, I love it. It is literally the easiest thing in the whole world. When I feel tense, stressed and ‘hard’ on the outside, it is the hardest thing in the world.
When I was an elite cyclist, it was clear that having a relaxed body meant I could ride harder for longer with less tiredness, and a higher power output. If I was stressed, and my body was tense, I tired more easily.
I practice qigong. We release layer and layers of deep tension. I spend weeks releasing old tension, and it feels amazing. But soon enough more, deeper layers of tension rise to the surface. None of us truly knows what it feels like to be relaxed. As humans we carry so much tension, from childhood onwards.
When we are relaxed we can enter the flow state. That never comes when we are tense. The flow state is a magical place. When I fight in the flow state, there is no thought, no sense of ‘me’, its beautiful and easy. When I think back, to analyse my performance, I can remember almost nothing of it. It just happens. Its beautiful.
I think the flow state is where the great harmonica players exist. Totally relaxed. Feeling. No thinking. That’s my theory, anyway.
Relaxation is everything.
Its the getting there, that is the tricky thing.