Everyone gets stressed out. From fighters to nurses. One helps, the other harms, but all people get forced into situations they aren't ready for. The only thing you can control in these moments are a few parts of your own being. The things you say, and the way you say them have a huge impression on the people around you. Social creatures that we are, our instincts easily catch the nervous stammering of ourselves and others. Let alone if you devolve to this in the middle of a fight. The body loses it's vigor and becomes cold. You're swimming with a hungry shark in freezing water.
You breathe from your diaphragm, your chest, and your sinuses. There are dozens of other ways to breathe from every combination of these places.
For now I will teach you 3 easy breathing techniques that I have learned many ways through several videos, books, and seminars from over the years. These techniques are old, most likely every human has them coded into their DNA from the last two ice ages, or even before that. Never forget that our great-great-great-great-great-great ancestors lived in caves, on glaciers, eating mammoth steaks.
1. Flow Breathing:
This type of breathing should be used daily as often as you can. The goal is to eventually get to a point where your inhales match the timing of your exhales 1:1. Everyone has a unique lung capacity so the time will vary. As an example, I have a resting breathing rate of about 7 seconds. Count at first or use a stopwatch to find yours.
(All breathing should be done through the nostrils as much as possible to maintain posture, proper nitrogen to oxygen ratios, and better keep out large pollutants.)
All high level athletes, meditative gurus, and soldiers/survivalists have mastery over their heart rates to some degree through this art and others. It seems simple enough, and it is. However, under the extreme stresses of a person's day it can seem impossible in the moment.
Attaining the calm of a master requires a million failures by the student.
2. Dynamic Breathing:
Getting in the mood to even begin a workout, or a stack of laundry, often feels like a chore in itself. Thus the rampant coffee addiction many of us face. (Myself included) Specifically with Dynamic Breathing, you can stimulate your own fight or flight reflexes in a quick and drug free manner, like other animals in nature would.
Inhaling: Broken and quick like you're sniffling or catching your breath in cold water. (Wim Hof)
Exhaling: Softly release, and relax the head, neck, and shoulders.
Laughing, screaming, or singing can all achieve this effect as well. War cries, dancing, running, fighting, love making. All ritualized movements bring the body into a sense of oneness with the exact moment through our breath.
Practice breathing, practice oneness, practice living better. Mediation has such a heavy focus on breathing in order to make you feel this same oneness, even when sitting still.
3. Stasis Breathing:
There are many uses for Stasis breathing while immediately recovering from extreme stress. Whether fighting a human or let's say, a mountain lion. Or even for adding stress during a training session. For example the use restriction masks is now widely accepted as meta for Tabata and HIIT training. As well as running sprints and jumping into a pool and holding your breath as long as possible. These techniques are widely used in MMA and other high performance athletics. The science is truly compelling and they deserve their own blog entirely.
This one is going to feel very uncomfortable. Basically like you're dying, because essentially you're tricking your autonomic nervous system into acting like you are. Much the same as how fasting will slow your metabolism in ways, self-apnea will cause the heart to immediately put on the brakes to conserve what oxygen is left.
Inhaling: Labored and intense, typically beyond your control at this point because of stressors.
Exhaling: Deep and held for as long as possible. Push out all the air you can.
You will panic and your heartbeat will stop shortly, but that's a good sign. This will lower your heart rate and increase your Heart Rate Variability.
Mastery is a long road, but well worth every suffocating moment.
Thank you for reading this and I hope it taught you many of the tactics that I personally use to train and recover during yard work or even fighting in the ring.
Wim Hof is the leading source on these subjects that you can start with if you have further interest.