I hope by reading this article you will see the value in being aware of your breath and also how it can have the potential to not only improve your internal health but also give you an instantly accessible tool to help you focus on those goals and ambitions you have been putting off. Be sure to try the simple exercise below also to get you started on developing your awareness of how (and where) you breathe.
Not so long ago (well, about six or seven years actually!) I did not give the way I breathed a second thought. In fact, everything I based my physical training upon was external in nature. I lifted weights and focused on bigger muscles, the latest shakes to add a few calories, and in all honesty was quite a shallow person. I lived day to day with no clear vision of where I was headed. I knew I enjoyed competing in martial arts and was interested in fitness but that was about it.
To cut a long story a little shorter I started feeling ill. Tiredness pervaded my body, I had glandular fever and was diagnosed with a liver disorder that slowed down the way in which my liver processed that which I ingested. I could not train for a number of months and felt very dejected. It was then I began looking for more internal methods to train while I recovered. While researching breathing methods it was as if a light clicked on in my mind. I began thinking of working from the inside out.
You may be wondering what sort of exercises I started using so below is one of the first I learnt, and applied, for you to try and benefit from. Perform it ten times with focus and feel it’s beneficial effects on your mind and body.
1. Stand (preferably in fresh air) with feet shoulder width apart.
2. Inhale deeply. Do not rush the inhale. You should feel your stomach expand. You should not be just breathing into your chest! Breathe in until you cannot breathe in any more. You should be ‘full’.
3. While performing the inhalation use your focused mind to direct the energy, your breath, into your belly, and then down into your legs all the way into your toes. You have filled your entire body with energy!
4. Exhale smoothly and naturally. For this exercise, nothing is forced.
5. Repeat up to ten times.
Try it, right now! Make sure you will not be disturbed. All you need is five minutes (if that), throw open a window, and experience what it feels like to direct your breath and energy through your whole body!
As I delved deeper into deep breathing exercises I created small routines that helped me stay active and a profound change in how I trained and thought materialised. By training from the inside out I felt healthier and learnt how to amalgamate my deep focused breathing with my goals. What I found was the exercises created a sense of awareness mentally and I began thinking about goals I wanted to achieve while doing them!
As I did this each day I felt strongly compelled to take action towards them. By breathing life into mental images I found I was improving internal health and generating positive momentum towards objectives!
So, the next time you are stressed out or trying to focus, give the above exercise a go to help in relieving stress, increasing energy levels, and adding a little much needed focus towards goal!
© Tim Webb 2005
Tim Webb is a fitness instructor, Ju Jutsu instructor and competitor. He specialises in easily accessible deep breathing exercises that combine breath and mind together. His site http://www.breathforsuccess.com/ offers a product that provides deep breathing exercises for invigorating yourself, relaxing, and highlights how your breath can be tied in with your goals to move you towards them in record time