You will accelerate your training and performance in general if you orient your approach to reflect the actual science behind breathing, rather than upon urban myths. For instance, everyone has heard a coach screaming across the mat or field telling an athlete to "RELAX!"
For those individuals who develop IN SPITE of poor coaching, they do so because they intuitively develop the tools necessary to relax under pressure. What do you see when an individual attempts to "relax?" S/he voluntarily changes his/her breathing pattern!
Why Does This Work?
The manner in which we move from stimulus to response progresses in the following manner:
Survival Stress Arousal
Any novel or noxious event.
Your collection of information through your senses, including proprioception (the "sixth sense"), and transmission of that signal through to the Central Nervous System.
Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, internal temperature, blood flow shift, etc.
Release or dump of various chemicals into the system to super-charge the system to fight or flee.
Each pattern of tension, breathing, structure, and chemical blend becomes a particular feeling; one is happiness, one sadness; one is frustration, one exhilaration; one is anger, one lust.
Each feeling is categorized by similar experiences. When you have one feeling, it is anchored to similar experiences. You judge an event by the feeling you have, and those judgments categorize your experiences.
As you make instant judgments, you react by creating inner discussion regarding your impression of what you have just experienced. Some thoughts are negative, some positive, each of course dependent upon this process.
Skills: formal/deliberate and informal/inadvertent.
This is a very generalized, elementary explanation of the process. It's Simply Sophisticated?; for only a few experts in psychophysiology, neurobiology, stress physiology and behavioral science. However, the conclusions that we draw here are monumental.
Feelings come before (create) thoughts is the first that come to 'mind!' But that's only the first half. The second half of that statement is your muscle tension, movement, structural alignment and breathing come before (create) your feelings - or emotional state.
Ever hear the saying, "if you want happiness, then smile?" It's an old cliche reflecting the fact that you can control your emotional state by modifying your behavior (breathing, movement and structure).
We must be careful to understand that one's state is a reflection of one's breathing. Breathing happens to be the only visceral function (to our current scientific understanding) which we can consciously control - as it has two independent lines in our CNS - an autonomic and a voluntary. So one can say that either we control our breathing, or our conditioned patterns of reactions to stimuli control us.
In other words, fear is either a wonderful servant or a terrible master.
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Yours in strength,
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