Movement, Mindfulness and Breathing
Movement, Mindfulness and Breathing
There are three concepts you can use in your training as well as outside the training hall- Movement, Mindfulness and Breathing, which will benefit you both on and off the mat.
Movement- as humans, we are made are to move. We are not made to be sedentary. We feel better, we move with more fluidity and we experience better overall health both now and as we age when we move. The more we move the better we feel and the better we move.
In our art, we want to move from our “center”- a spot roughly an inch and a half below the navel and more towards the center of the body. Imagine you have a gyroscope below your navel and it guides you forward and backward, side to side. How would it feel? Would we lead with our head if that were the case?
Remember the six external harmonies- Shoulders and hips, Elbows and knees, and hands and feet.
When we move, be sure your shoulders and hips are coordinated and moving together. When you enter, or even when you simply walk- move from your core and bring your whole body with you in a unified manner.
Mindfulness- Be present. Mindfulness enables the person to be fully present and aware of their body in time and space in the present moment and without judgment. The goal of mindfulness is to be aware of the inner workings of our thoughts, our emotions, and our body. We can achieve mindfulness through meditation, the body can or simply being consciously aware. When we are mindful we are focused at the moment – other distractions fade away.
Breathing- Breathing is fundamental – it literally keeps us alive. However, while many of us only use “ chest breathing”- or shallow breathing- if we truly breathe deeply it has beneficial effects on our body and our mind.
By learning to breathe deeply into our belly- gently stretching the diaphragm so that we can intake more air, we will calm the mind, calm the body and help to create greater focus.
When we train, or when you encounter an opponent, remember to breathe. We end each class with a few minutes of mindful breathing so that you can be calm and focused. It is also meant to encourage you to make it a part of your regular personal training regime.
By being mindful in the moment and breathing, you keep your mind calmer and therefore can be more responsive to the situation rather than reactive.
When we move on to our opponent or training partner- do so from your core. Arrive at your destination with your full body, aware and in the present moment. You will be surprised at how much more effective your techniques will be.
In your personal training, use deep mindful breathing as a way to relax and release tension in the mind and in the body. As you take in a deep breath, scan your mind and your body from head to toe for tension. When you sense areas in your body where you are holding tension, consciously let it go. When you breathe deeply and notice tension in your thoughts or a lack of calm- note it and release it – let it go. The more you do this, the calmer you will feel. Not only will you experience greater calm, you will develop over time a greater sensitivity to tension and the ability to let it go more easily and also to not engage it in the first place.
When I first started utilizing deep breathing and mind/ body scan for the tension I started to notice how my mind was always rushing, always moving, always thinking about a thousand things. The more I utilized deep breathing and the release of tension, the more focused and calm my mind became. Additionally, the more relaxed my mind and body became, the more I was able to sense when the tension started to build.
To wrap up this thought- develop mindfulness in your daily activity but especially in your training. Develop conscious movement and move from your core. Breathe. Practice deep breathing in every moment you can- you will be surprised at the way you will benefit.
We will continue to discuss these items but also let me know what questions you have.
Published: January 15, 2022
Categories: Martial Arts