Movement and Breath
Coordinated breathing is the key to performance for all movement.
Although meditation sitting is the classic practice
for understanding breath and life itself, it's often easier to learn correct
breathing while moving. Swimming is a perfect example since easy movement
in the water depends on breathing and relaxation.
The following compares various forms of movement and sport and how breathing is addressed for each.
Each set of movements or forms follows the principles of:
These define the necessary opposites of yin and yang that build up a practitioner's chi (internal life force). Each tai chi movement begins with " in" or "close" and ends with "out" or "open". "In" brings the chi force into the abdomen where it's stored; "Out" releases the chi to the rest of the body, the desired benefit.
Chi breathing follows the same patterns
as the movements.
This new (to me) form of exercise is performed vertically in chest deep water, using natural, snake-like movements. The result is a deep sense of relaxation, increased flexibility and most importantly, wonderfully correct breathing.
Stress or anxiety can cause a person to breathe in an unnaturally forced way, expanding the chest and contracting the abdomen. Ai chi addresses both the physical and emotional effects of stress because the practitioner breathes not from the chest but rather the diaphragm. This is a similar benefit as that of meditation and martial arts, among others.
To find out more about Ai Chi, visit the Aquatic Exercise Association website to order their products.
Divers know that safety and control of their movements underwater depends upon relaxed breathing. Divers never hold their breath, but inhale and exhale a normal breath steadily.
Moreover, experienced divers will master "Neutral Buoyancy". This means that a fully equipped diver hangs suspended in the water without effort or jerky up-and-down movements. Depth is controlled by the diver's own breath; exhaling causes a slow descent, while inhaling results in a gradual rise. Relaxed breathing and movements plus neutral buoyancy is what this low-key spectator sport is all about, really feeling a part of that rich sea world that's otherwise hidden.
The most important part of any yoga study is breath, or pranayama.
may traditionally begin attention to their breath with the "OM"
and end with a prayer or sitting meditation. In class, yoga practitioners
assume the same positions or asanas in the same order each time, and attention
to the breath is paid thruout. The result of this practice is balanced,
relaxed, detoxifying breathing, in harmony with the joints and spine.
Students learn to pay close attention to themselves in a non-judgemental
way, concentrating on breathing through the poses they're taught.
Kung Fu I'm working on it right now...
Boxing soon, soon...
There is also a wealth of information on breathing practices while sitting or resting.
tai chi, for