Why is correct breathing so important?
In every aspect of human life, breathing can play a crucial role and although it is a vital gesture, it is by no means a foregone action. Learning to use the most appropriate type of breathing for each situation can have incredible benefits:
- In social relationships – For stress management, emotional control, etc. (read for example Breathing for immediate relaxation)
- In combat and sport – Saving energy, syncing muscles, improving performances, etc. (read for example How to punch (simple explanation))
- In meditation – To remove all the possible tensions, for advanced control of the body, etc. (read for example Advanced body control)
- In stretching – To increase the quality of the elongations, to remove the involuntary resistances, etc. (read How to correctly perform stretching)
- In Qi management – To recover our life energies, our Qi (read for example Meditation method 4)
Learning to breathe properly is a source of well-being that we can draw at any time and in any situation.
How to breathe correctly?
From a Yoga point of view, to breathe correctly means:
- To use all the lung capacity at our disposal (normally we use only a small part)
- To choose the correct oxygenation pace to be used (first consciously and then unconsciously)
- To learn how to choose which parts of our body to get involved (chest, diaphragm, etc.)
To do this it is only a matter of practice with meditation:
- Let’s study each of the 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s meditation methods (read Meditation method 1)
- Let’s practice them regularly and, inevitably, our body will automatically choose the right one
- After this, the choosing of the breathing type will be a natural, instinctive and spontaneous choice
- Outside of training, let’s never try to force our body to do things that it does not wants
What are the benefits?
When we operate correctly the benefits are endless. Gradually:
- Our ability to concentrate will increase (all the secondary thoughts disappear, focusing us like a laser on what we want to do)
- All the unwanted tension / stiffness will leave us (in areas such as the abdominals, chest, shoulders, neck, etc.)
- We will learn to do not trap air in the lower part of our lungs (an extremely common but wrong attitude)
- Blood pressure will decrease (our heart will slow down depending on the pace that we impose on it)
- We will be able to remain calm (even under intense emotional stress situations)
- The quality of our sleep will increase dramatically (we will be calmer and more used to correct breathing)
- Last but not least, our entire nervous system finds the right balance (central and autonomic)
Deepening – The central nervous system (C.N.S.) receives / analyzes all the incoming information from the internal and external environment and processes the most appropriate answers, the autonomic nervous system (A.N.S.) works controls the basic functions of our internal organs (like heart, intestines, liver, etc.). The A.N.S. works on one side with the sympathetic nervous system (S.N.S.) and on the other with the parasympathetic nervous system (P.N.S.); when the first is working at a high level, the other is working at a low level and vice versa. The S.N.S. with stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol) activates mechanisms like raising heart rate, raising blood pressure and blood sugar levels; this allows us to face the most critical situations (eg. in a self-defense context): this way the S.N.S. sends energy, blood and oxygen to the large muscles of the trunk, arms, and legs making us able to express the best physical performances. On the other side, the P.N.S. has the opposite function, it slows the heart rate and lowers our blood pressure, making us able to recover after the stressful event: in a few words, everything returns to the normal flow (blood, etc.). S.N.S. is related to a “fight or flight” context, P.N.S. can be seen as a “rest and digest”.
In the next article, we will see what is the right way to breathe and how to do it with an exercise that exalts the best breathing technique.
- The 6DKF’s combat breathing – One of the breathing methods of 6DKF during combat
- Fasting once a month – A discipline exercise also useful to regenerate the internal organs
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Are you able to choose the correct breathing type?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.