Releasing Stress Through Karate Breathing Techniques
Karate originated as a Japanese martial art with roots to China’s famous Kung Fu. It has gained a lot of popularity and now has even been accepted as a sport in the Olympics. It is now practiced by hundreds of thousands of disciples all around the world. There are a lot of tournaments when it comes to karate and competitions can be tough. Even if you are not in a competition or in a street fight, karate can still come to the rescue as it is not designed to fight just physical fights but also mental stress. Being in tension can initiate fight or flight hormones in your system and make you sweat even if the conditions are in your control. Meditation has been incorporated in martial arts for a long time and one of the main focuses for doing this was to help the practitioner fight stress. Several breathing techniques, poses, etc. also arose to help fight the cause and also help maintain the calmness and focus to learn the art.
So today, I am going to share some of these breathing techniques with you so that you can also maintain the calm under stress and perform better. Have a look.
Karate Breathing Techniques
For any meditation exercise, a comfortable position in which you can sit for a while is a must. If you are in an uncomfortable position then you won’t be able to focus and may also experience physical pain which may sway away your concentration. Karate practitioners mostly sit in the ‘Seiza’ pose which is the same as the Vajrasana position of Indian yoga. You will touch your heels with your buttocks to sit in this position. Many people find it difficult to sit in it and so you can also sit in the cross legged position as you may find it comfortable..
How to do it?
For this breathing exercise, you will have to look for a quiet place where no would disturb you for the time being; Not even your pet! You can also look for a sitting area where the light is not falling directly on your eyes as it may also cause a distraction. Now close your eyes and maintain a straight back as you sit. Keep your body relaxed and try to find if there is any kind of tension in your body. If yes, then try to change the sitting posture accordingly as it may make you uncomfortable sooner.
Take a deep breath, slowly and steadily while keeping your eyes closed. Also maintain your head up. As your lungs fill with all the air you just took in, hold your breath and count till 7. Exhale after you have finished your counting. Inhale again and repeat this drill 2-3 more times.
After you have repeated it, start breathing normally. Shift your focus entirely on your breath and when you are able to do it change your breathing pattern. Start breathing in from your nose and exhale through your mouth. Do remember that when you are doing this exercise you will have to expand and contract your belly as you inhale and exhale respectively. Don’t move your shoulders as it can generate tension in them. Try to observe infants as they breathe, they behave naturally and move their bellies.
Continue this exercise for 15-20 minutes and you will feel relaxed and calm. If you wish, you can extend the duration even further. The important and the most difficult part here would be to maintain focus. If you find your focus drifting away, bring it back to your breathing. Focus how the breath that you exhale touches your inner lips and the breath you inhale fills in your lungs.
So this was the karate breathing technique which I wanted to share with you. Hope it helps. Try this exercise daily before you start your day and before going to bed, for a month and let us know your experience down in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you guys.
Thanks for reading!