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It's just breathing... right?

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's just breathing... right?

I have a guest blogger who wrote in today for you all, he has lived all over the world, is a master of Kung Fu, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and has extensively studied Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. I have never seen such control of one's body, I learn from him daily, but he still amazes me! So, read up, learn, and please ask ANY and all questions of him!! Thanks for reading!

Yours In Good Health


Since we have been seeing eye to eye on the general publics basic rules of health, I would figure that the more information you have the better. Leaving aside those who are in critical health to those who aren't, pain is something we all deal with on a daily basis. In comparison to the recently discussed, “fevers, coughs and colds,” I figure it would only be right to give you a follow up on a similar spectrum.

Be it you have a sprained ankle, tendonitis or your run of the mill obese citizen, there are certain details that are pertinent to every day life that seem to have been overlooked through these perilous times; that is our inability to maintain a proper breathing pattern. Everyone is so quick to pop an Advil or Tylenol or unfortunately an OC, and lets face it, this kind of dependency has created more problems than it has solved. Like the common cold that’s meant to be fought off through our body’s antibodies, I feel pain should be dealt with through a more hands on, mental capability.

Like the tortoise’s “slow and steady” winning the race, so should be the same with ones breathing. Something as simple as inhaling for 5 to 8 seconds and exhaling for a few seconds longer is the cornerstone of practicing good health. To the Chinese this practice is known as Chi Gong. Literally translating to “breath work”, through said practice men and women have taught their bodies to maintain strength on both a physical and mental standpoint. However the mental is strongly regarded to be more important than the physical, because lets face it, in the end our body is just a vessel of crap, blood and water that is carried throughout every day life mainly through our central nervous system i.e. our brain and spinal cord. The more we give our brain what it needs (oxygen) the more harmoniously our systems work (circulatory, integumentary, lymphatic, endocrine etc…). I myself have seen and benefited from said practice, and it HAS kept me alive on more than one occasion.

I am not trying to preach a guided meditation either, the powers that be know that not all can take a few minutes out of their day to take the edge off using means other than drugs or alcohol. However, the definition of meditation is focusing on a single point in time. That being said, with the breathing method included, any action can be turned into a meditative state of being. Be it running, sitting, or taking apart and putting together a firearm; if it relaxes you don’t deny yourself the simple pleasure of keeping outside influences on the outside.

I reiterate, 5 to 8 seconds inhaling (I recommend the latter) and 10 to 12 seconds exhaling. At a medical standpoint, you slow down the system in your body that creates lactic acid. To those who don’t share a strength in biology and my lovable skeptics, I took it upon myself in this life practice of mine, to find other explanations of why this has consistently worked for me in the past years. I only needed to go as far back to my sophomore year of high school biology to get the answer, or at least a part of it, because lets face it, there are just so many questions out there.

Lactic acid is a substance in our body that is responsible for causing fatigue, pain, and physical stress. You feel it after that last 50-yard sprint or the final bench press repetition or even over-clicking the mouse during your “World of Warcraft” fun. ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), the process responsible for creating lactic acid, transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. In short it’s the very activity taking place inside us that is beginning and end of our energy spurts. And what pray tell, is the secret to curbing this problem, and keeping it on the sidelines… If you said anaerobic respiration you guessed right!! Anaerobic respiration or fermentation entails the generation of energy via the process of oxidation in the absence of O2 as an electron acceptor. In most eukaryotes (that is any organism having as its fundamental structural unit, a cell type that contains specialized organelles in the cytoplasm, a membrane-bound nucleus enclosing genetic material organized into chromosomes, and an elaborate system of division by mitosis or meiosis, characteristic of all life forms except bacteria, blue-green algae, and other primitive microorganisms) glucose is used as both an energy store and an electron donor… Simply put, with proper training and a proper diet infused of course; there are infinite capabilities to your body’s potential. When you think about it, it’s pretty sad that there have been millions of years of evolution and we have barely even tapped into the vastness of human potential.

And it all starts with a simple 5 to 8 seconds of inhaling, and a 10 to 12 of exhaling.

I will conclude this blog with a Da Vinci Codes history recall and modern day uses of Chi Gong… It is everywhere, you just have to look deeper into that “Last Supper” portrait. Symbolically speaking, proper breathing has leaked into many religious and physical practices. Starting with my favorite fighting styles of Kung Fu, originating in the 500 AD era by the Shaolin Temple monks. The very root of their practice is breathing and by simply mastering this mundane task, it retroactively corrected their posture, flexibility and overall stamina, and in the end, through rigorous practice discipline and religious trepidation were they able to transform themselves into virtually indestructible life forms. If you don’t believe me I ask you to go on and type in anything that concerns Shaolin Practice. My personal favorite is Chris Crudelli’s Mind Body and Kick Arse moves Chi Gong demonstrations. There you will find four or five Chi Gong masters bending steel with their throats and their eyes or breaking brick on the back of their neck while the front of their neck is placed on top of a guillotine. As much as the Chinese would like to take all the credit for their inner strength capabilities, The Shaolin would not be as successful today if it were not for the traveling priest Dohmer Bodi. This man of Indian origin, was single handedly responsible for the teachings the Shaolin Masters hold today. His Style, which is less known today, is called Kalarippayat, which is roughly translated to “Strange Animal Styles”. It is claimed to stem from all fighting styles we hold true today, basing from the styles such as Yoga, Kung Fu, Taek Wan Do, Boxing and basically anything you can think of. It’s main objective is to be the warrior that has no limits, feels no pain, and knows no bounds when it comes to physical, emotional, and mental capabilities. The main teachings and first lesson, if one were to read further into it, is to remain an unstoppable force or an immovable object by merely living life as it should it should be lived. A better example, which everyone might be more familiar with, is Bruce Lee’s style of Jeet Kune Do. He called it the formless form, and developed this style when he was strapped to his bed in a hospital for months on end. His doctors told him he would never walk again, let alone fight and despite all odds walked and fought anyway. He did this through exercises he called “power breathing.” These breathing methods have permeated through time, for the same reason that the great white shark has never had to evolve…it’s perfect. Simply put… Don’t ignore the needs to a life force, we survive solely on breathing and nourishing and the only way we can disrupt this is by allowing it to be disrupted in the first place… I.e. it’s all on us from the beginning until the end to lighten up. Ride with the wave instead of against it; welcome all trials, positive or negative, and see how your behavior measures up. Yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo; do whatever it is that keeps you happy in the end, just know that the same basic principles apply.

Now, all this can be taken however one chooses. Hold your breath as long as you want, but you will still turn blue, and take the big gasp. All I suggest is 5 to 8 seconds inhaling, and 10 to 12 seconds exhaling. If you don’t feel your shoulders correcting themselves, your neck straightening, your sleep improving, or your overall life just getting simpler. The ways you deal with pain is less stressful then by all means try a new method.

Just remember in the end… to breathe


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