Breathing is so essential in mind and body practice. The practice of deep breathing has so many positive benefits and is important to practice daily to help the mind develop focus and clarity.
In Aikido, our students at Newport Beach Aikikai have the opportunity to practice deep breathing in every class. At the beginning of our warm-ups and throughout our practice sessions, Sensei encourages his students to relax and breathe while they are practicing the techniques. At the end of each class, aikido practitioners sit in silence, drop their shoulders, focus on their center and breathe. It is a time to relax as Sensei reminds his students to “remember this feeling, the calmness.”
As we experience high levels of stress and anxiety in our work and family life, it is important to practice breathing in our daily regimen, not only at the dojo. The Covid-19 crisis brings more attention to the need of breathing as stress levels are at its highest with the hardships from job loss, lack of sleep and exercise and an uprise of uncertain times and pandemic news.
Although aikido practice is limited at the dojo, students are encouraged to continue solo training at home which includes deep breathing at the beginning and end of every lesson. This is encouraged for both adults and children. Whether it is 5 minutes for a beginner to 30-minutes or more for an advanced practitioner, sensei encourages everyone to just start and slowly progress. As you feel more comfortable and relaxed, it becomes easier to sit for longer periods of time. The transition would led from just breathing still to meditation.
Just Start Breathing
Sensei Pennewaert Shihan recalls learning breathing and meditation exercises through his Sensei, the late Seichii Sugano Shihan. When he first started, it remembers not being able to breathe as deeply as today. He questioned his shallow breaths and had asked Sugano Shihan for advice which he replied, “just breathe.” It comes naturally as you begin to relax and focus on your diaphragm.
Watch this special video as Sensei Pennewaert Shihan shares tips and breathing exercises to encourage everyone to “Just Start Breathing.” Please follow the Aikido YouTube Channel to learn more about important topics for mind, body, and spirit wellness.