Breathing is the most fundamental physical thing a human does. It is often ignored or simply taken for granted because we do it automatically. However breathing should be looked at as a skill that, like and any other skill, can be improved through regular practice. The benefits of this practice are directly related to a control over heart rate and a reduction in blood pressure. Deliberate deep breathing can reduce anxiety (and therefore can reduce pain).
A few things to keep in mind,
Breathing in more than you breathe out is one of key concepts that require attention. One way to think of this is like blowing up a rubber raft but instead of concentrating on blowing out into the rubber raft, concentrate on the breath in.
Think of a time when you have been out of breath through physical excursion. At these moments the body wishes it had more oxygen than it does. Now consider breath like putting money into a savings account in case of emergency. It is considered good planning to set aside the money before you need it instead of when you need it. This may seem like a poor comparison, as breath does not appear to be cumulative. You breathe out as much as you breathe in naturally however the technique of breathing slightly more oxygen in than out can saturate the blood with oxygen.
Deep breathing directly effects heart health. Not only can it lower heart rate and blood pleasure, it can take pressure off the heart. It also aids in the body’s circulation, not just the blood but the digestive system as well.
When training fighters there are two major breathing techniques that make significant differences in a short amount of time. One is a concept and one physical practice.
The concept: the fundamental fact that by controlling the breath under duress one could control not only his emotion and stress while in the midst of a fight but also the amount of precious oxygen needed to perform. Simply put, control your breath and you control your energy and emotion, control your opponents breath and you control his life.
The practice is implemented in the corner during the one-minute period of rest time between rounds. In this impossibly short time when the deliberate deep breathing that has been practiced in preparation for the fight is implemented. No matter the success or failure of the round that preceded it the conscious method of practiced breathing would put life back into a competitor even if he appears defeated. This in essence becomes a weapon. Outside of athletic competition it becomes a valuable tool. In pugilistic combat an old saying persists, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” This was the fastest easiest way to reduce fatigue and clear an overwhelmed mind.
No matter ones age or perceived lack of athleticism it is best to approach these exercises as an athletic discipline. Again, It is a technique that with disciplined regular practice becomes a skill.
Not every one care to see combat as a metaphor for life but because our first and last breaths will define the beginning an end of our lives it makes good sense to make them count, even before they need to count.