By Bob Hubbard
The idea of a guide to breathing seems rather strange
to some. After all, we all do it automatically. But, like everything
else, there is a right way to breath to maximize its benefit to you.
The most common breathing uses only the top half of our
lungs. This leaves the bottom portion unused and tends to hinder the
fullest absorption of oxygen due to the retention of stale air. This
stale air and poor use of our lung capacity effects every organ in our
bodies. Every day we take thousands of breaths but rarely will we think
about how to improve the process.
Proper deep breathing combined with meditation can reduce
stress, expand your consciousness, deepen insights and help create inner
peace. Even without meditation, properly breathing can help keep you
alert and energized to face the trials of the day.
We enter this world in a soft, relaxed state, gradually
growing harder as we age. As we age, we forget how to breathe at our
full capacity, taking shallower and shallower breaths. This should be
One of the first things the singer and musician learn
is proper breath control. Body builders and weight training includes
proper breathing instruction.
Tai chi, Yoga and other meditative practices require you
to become attuned to your breathing at an early stage. In order to bet
the maximum from these studies, it is vitally important that the body
and the mind receive sufficient oxygen. The act of breathing itself
is important for proper bodily function. It massages the internal organs
and moves both nutrients and wastes. From a meditative perspective,
focusing on proper breathing unclutters your mind, and helps you to
relax. How often have you had trouble sleeping and heard "focus
on your breathing" or "breath slow and count your breaths"?
So, breathing right is important. But, how do you do it?
In order to understand the right way to breath, you must
also know the wrong ways. You want to avoid what are called "Clavicle"
and "Thoracic" breathing. In "Clavicle breathing",
the abdomen is sucked in and the shoulders and collarbone are raised.
It is the shallowest type giving the least benefit. Expanding the rib
muscles does “Thoracic breathing” which is where the stomach
is often sucked in but the chest rises and falls..
Proper breathing is more than simply "breath in,
breath out". Proper breathing involves the abdomen, and four distinct
stages: Inhalation, retention, exhalation and pause.
Never force yourself to inhale to the point where you feel so full you
might burst. A common mistake, you should never try to force it beyond
comfortable fullness. Go about 2/3's full. Don't try to suck in all
the air you can as fast as you can. Do it at a slow and steady pace
for maximum effect. Breath with your abdomen. To get the feel for this,
while wearing loose clothing, lie on your back. Place your hand on the
upper abdomen, where the diaphragm is located, approximately just under
your rib line. Breathe in and out slowly. The abdomen should expand
outward as you inhale and contract as you exhale.
A common mistake is to breath in and out as fast as you can. This can
cause you to become lightheaded, and you get minimal effectiveness of
the air. Instead, after breathing in about 2/3 of a lungful of air,
hold it for about 3-4 seconds. This allows for proper exchange of oxygen
and toxins through the cell walls, and can slow down your heartbeat
and reduce blood pressure. Proper retention has many therapeutic benefits
to the body.
Don't try to force the air out. Empty from the top to the bottom, in
a relaxed manner.
When the lungs are completely empty, pause for a few seconds. This will
allow the abdominal wall and diaphragm to relax so that they may operate
at the best of their ability on the next breath.
Proper deep breathing can reduce stress, expand your mind,
increase your endurance and energy, and keep you alert. Shallow or incorrect
breathing can leave you clouded, tired and lethargic. Regardless of
your activity, remember to breath. Be aware of how you are breathing,
and focus on a slow deep relaxed breath. You'll find you will be more
effective in your daily activities.
is an administrator of
the popular martial arts sites MartialTalk.com
and KenpoTalk.com. He is president
of SilverStar WebDesigns
inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable
solutions for martial artists. A student of all the arts, he is currently
studying Modern Arnis. Bob can be reached at email@example.com.
More of Bob's articles can be found at rustaz.net.
Please contact Bob if you would like him to review your martial arts