A BREATHING BASE

An example of an implementable specific breathing program that I worked on over the last few years and use for my own training. This can be for a 30-, 45-, 60-minute jogging session I go through during the week, working both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. 4 minutes at pace (whatever pace-of-the-day dictates), 1 minute bursts, 35-40 second recovery time; I tend to go late morning or early afternoon when the sun is at its hottest here, making it more of a battle of attrition and suffering, but that’s personal choice.

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AT PACE – breathe in (mouth closed), out through mouth blowing, breaths in rhythm to 4 steps. (inhale for 4 steps, exhale for 4)

EXPLODE – breathe in (as with a cold, runny nose), blow out hard (a “shhh”, as in trying to shush someone), following the “every 4 steps” idea but with increased breathing as there’s an increase in steps.

RECOVERY – panic breathing (quick inhalation), quick exhalation (as in blowing out candles). Panic breathing puts you back in-control faster than stopping/deep breathing/abdominal breathing can and while moving-replicating stress response far more accurately, much faster recovery time

MONITORING: All the while, I’m using “autogenics” or “moving mindfulness” (paying close attention to my body’s responses: lightening steps for foot impact, knees tightening up from heavy footfall, muscles tensing, shoulders down…go up-and-down body acknowledging and fixing what’s not)

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LEVELS OF BREATHING: find comfortable level (chest, mid-level far more accessible under physical exertion than the always-recommended abdominal variety). As you move into your cooldown, start moving down with your breathing until it becomes controlled abdominal/meditative breathing. (where most do yoga, meditation, qi gong, etc.)

In tai chi/qi gong we’re explained the difference in Taoist (breathe in/chest expands) vs. Buddhist (breathe in/abdomen expands) breathing but never “when” to use them. (regarding the Japanese kiai as well) For any who’ve fought, abdominal breathing during is almost impossible, which usually “internal” stylists have never done or simply don’t have a reference point. Keep your gaze up while running, pulling in details, working situational/environmental awareness under stress/close inoculation replica. (Harder than you think, often the tendency when participating in heavy exertion is to look down)This kind of breathing expunges any excess CO2 from lungs and immediately fills them with fresh air without any leftover CO2 so at their maximum capacity.  A “sigh” can be used either directly before the panic breathing or momentarily thereafter . Sometimes this is involuntarily and will happen after the burst but still acts as a calming mechanism to help keep your breathing on-line.

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The goal is:  a) to start forming an anchor from walking/movement/steps to breathing. This can be transferred to daily movement as well, timing your breaths to your pace of walking, running, wheelchair rotations…whatever preferred.

b) to control your breathing throughout the activity, never having to gasp, pant or hyperventilate, over the length of the run, thus learning to correlate your movement with your breathing. I’ve noticed, since implementing this into my training regimen, a far greater stamina in activities related to combat (grappling, clinchwork, boxing, stickfighting, knife sparring, etc.), a far shorter recovery period and a greater explosiveness during training.”

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