Breathing Exercise by Ward Willis
Due to our active lives the mind moves hurriedly for much of the day. From mental task to mental task we go, seemingly leaving our body behind. In fact, sometimes we might get so caught up in our mental endeavors that we act as though we have no body at all. Perhaps you have experienced times when your body feels like a separate and foreign entity. To make the most of your workouts and time on earth, try some deep breathing to bring the body and mind into union. Try making ten minutes to practice. You will be amazed at the results.
Start by lying down on your back. At Kenzai we love to work with and against gravity. This resting posture is no different. Sink into gravity. If you feel any tension in your head, neck, or back, try placing a cushion under your knees.
Close your eyes and pay attention to the rate, rhythm, and depth of your breath. Just watch for a little while without consciously changing anything. Now focus on your nose. Let the breath move in and out through your nose with your mouth slightly closed. Next, focus on your belly. Bring both hands onto your belly. Breath into the belly. The belly should grow like a ballon as you inhale and fall toward the floor as you exhale. Keep this up.
In time, shift the focus of your breathing to your mid section. Place your left hand on the left side of your body and your right hand on your right side of your body. Feel your ribs. As you breath into this space the ribs will lift and flare apart like the gills of a fish. Try not to grip or strive for a perfect breath. Let air move in and out naturally.
Now, move your hands again. Rest them on your upper chest by your collarbones. You might experience this as placing your hands just above your energetic heart. Continue to breath smoothly and deeply.
After awhile, permit your hands to float to your sides. Rest them on the floor and let them to succumb to gravity. Now that you have activated the belly, midsection, and upper chest continue inhaling and exhaling completely. The entire torso should be awake and active now.
In time, let go of your conscious control of the breath. Once more, just watch and notice how you feel. You might feel more relaxed, refreshed, open, or mentally clear.
Working with your breath helps to bring vital oxygen to your body. This speeds up the metabolic process and helps eliminate waste. By spending a few minutes with your hands in each position, you can learn the art of deep breathing. In time this practice may become a valuable part of your training.
By: Ward Willis // Kenzai Head Trainer