Take off the heat with mindfulness


It’s hot today, a humid 37 C in the shadow. It makes me wonder how anyone can focus with these temperatures! For me it’s difficult to focus, even with a fan next to me and a cold damp cloth in my neck. Even my ability of speak seems to have melted away: I’m mumbling unarticulated sounds, assuming that others understand what I’m thinking.

Deadlines don’t take care of temperatures, on the contrary. On Saturday it’s Conincx Pop Festival. For more than 10 years I’m booking the artists and do part of the production. The festival will not move to another date, extra stuff has to be arranged to conquer the heat: water for the visitors, extra shadow, etc.

As band you can’t just move a show, whatever the temperature is. You are expected to give a great performance, even with temperatures of more than 35 C. How can you focus?

Mindfulness or a short bodyscan can help. In a bodyscan you sit straight on a chair on a quiet place and put all your attention to your body. You move with your attention slowly through your whole body. Start with your toes. Try to feel them, one by one, even the one in the middle, without moving them. How do they feel? Warm or cold? Can you feel the shoe? The floor? Do they feel comfortable or cramped?

Next are your feet and your ankles, legs, hip, butt, back, neck, a short detour through your arms all the way down to your fingers and up again to your shoulder. From there you go over the back of your head to your face. Pay extra attention to your senses, the eyes (still closed), nose (what do you smell?), mouth (what do you taste?), ears (what do you hear?) and skin (can you feel a breeze?).

From you go with your attention to you voice and your lungs. Feel your breath going in and out. The air is transported to your heart. Can you feel the beat? The heart transports the oxygen to your belly, your own power plant. You can feel the energy generated in the belly in the rest of  your body, all the parts you just paid attention too. Now you can open your eyes again.

In Mindfulness, this exercise takes an hour, I usually take only 5 minutes for a short body scan. Even if it can’t reduce the temperature, it certainly can help to take off the heat in every sense. It’s a great tool for focus, for the ability to concentrate even in harsh circumstances like tropical temperatures during a show. I takes a few seconds to remind me on the bodyscan I did earlier today. This helps to focus again on the tasks ahead, despite the heat.

What’s your secret to take off the heat?

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