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Old 04-01-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: 068) Focus on Breathing: April 2010

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Breathing vs Structure

Hi Marc,

Just wondered about your thoughts on breathing practice as it relates to the body structure. For example, let's take a brand new person who doesn't have good body structure (head leans to one side often, upper shoulders are mostly tensed and not relaxed, upper spine bends or is crooked, etc) and add in breathing exercises. Do you find that the breathing exercises help, hinder, or do nothing in regards to progress with better body structure? aikido overall? On the flip side, do you think having a better structure helps, hinders, or does nothing with breathing exercises? Is there a point where one has to be more developed to get anything out of the other?


Excellent questions! I personally think that these two issues are inseparable at a deeper level. In other words, try and stand, or sit in a position with bad posture. Try breathing deeply. The muscles that help to stabilize unbalanced positions can prevent our diaphragm from optimal functioning. It is fascinating to watch newborn infants breathe (I get to do this all over again with my second grandchild ). Infants breathe properly! Go Figure! It never ceases to amaze me how many times in the course of a day, I am having to focus on correcting my posture and breathing. It is no surprise that people come to our schools with bad structure and no awareness that their breathing patterns are not optimal. As students gain awareness of posture, body tensions, breathing patterns, etc., the possibility of actively changing opens up to them. I find that my students do develop better body structure when they link body structure to breathing and actively seek to optimize both areas. This can take some people quite a long time, because of a deep disconnect between their awareness and body experiences. On the flip side, when I correct body posture during breathing exercises, the students typically feel an immediate change in their ability to breathe deeper and easier.

What have your experiences been?


Marc Abrams
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