Proper Breathing by Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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Proper Breathing
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 a concern.

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.

Inhalation
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.

Retention
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.

Exhalation
Don't try to force the air out. Empty from the top to the bottom, in a relaxed manner.

Pause
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.

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Bob Hubbard 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 kaith@martialtalk.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 product.


 

terryl965

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BOB I fully enjoyed this post I'm going to print it out and give it to al my students
Thank you
tery
 

still learning

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Hello, As everyone progress in there training, the more you hear from the masters, "breath".

Learning to breath while doing the martial arts techiques is one of the hardest thing to learn. When to inhale and exhale and the proper amount.

Kata's is one place I always had a hard time learning to breath. One would be exhaust or out of breath, because we then to hold our breaths.

Breathing and relaxing......simple things...sometimes the hardest to learn...Aloha
 

rabbit

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still learning Kata's is one place I always had a hard time learning to breath. One would be exhaust or out of breath said:
While practicing the MArtial Arts (TKD) I focus on my breathing. I focus on it as it passes through my nose. Just like when I meditiate(budihst way). It seems to me like I can control my breathing when I get winded. Not that I won't get winded but just that I control it better. Can anyone confirm this?
 

HKphooey

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Bob,

What are your feeling on inhaling/exhaling? Do you recommend breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth? I have found that keeps my breathing rythmatic and helps in sparring and tournament situations when a mouth piece is present. It also helps keep the mouth and throat from drying out. I do not have any scientific evidence, but It has always seemed to work for me (and the students). Swimmers tend to do the same thing.

Thanks for the great article!!!
 
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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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I'd have to say in-nose, out nose as thats the way we're designed. The hairs, etc in the nose functioning as a filter. Exhaling through the nose will "purge the system" if you will. I do find that in-nose/out-mouth works well when trying to focus and direct thoughts during meditation, as well as keep ones focus when sparring. Its harder on the later as so much is competing for your attention, and the bodies instinct is to gulp as much air as it can. Full mouth breathing only seems ok to me if one is diving, as it seems too easy to hyperventilate this way. My observations though, as its been a while since I looked into the pros/cons. :)
 

crushing

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Thanks for this Bob. I find myself holding my breath and generally breathing 'improperly' through techniques and parts of forms, sometimes to the point where I give myself a headache.
 

Robert Lee

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Sanchin kata plus tensho kata Are two very good breating katas. Refured as walking zen. Helpes teach proper breathing for both blocking striking and understanding the gravity root where when you breath useing diaphram breathing you lower your center force of gravity making you seem more heavy and more rooted to the ground. Mukso meditation before a class And laying meditation after a hard workout helps you to prepare for training and relax and rejuvinate the body after training. At least when I trained in Karate this is how we was taught to breath and use breathing in motion. But yes breathing is important as we have to have a good oxgenated blood flowing for us not to fatige
 
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