“Deep breathing alone has made many a weak man strong and many a sick man well.”
These words come from the immortal teachings of Martin “Farmer” Burns in his 1914 by-mail course, Lessons in Wrestling and Physical Culture but they could have just as easily come from the ancient Samurai of Japan – or the old-time Jiu-Jitsu masters.
For example, in a 1911 book on Japanese exercise methods that I read many years ago, I recorded the following:
“The ancient samurai was accustomed to going out into the open air as soon as he rose in the morning. There he devoted at least 10 or 15 minutes to continued deep breathing, standing with his hands on his hips in order that he might feel the play of his muscles.”
Breathing in the open air was also recommended by Farmer Burns as well early American fitness pioneers such as Charles Atlas, Bernarr MacFadden and Paul Bragg. These men truly knew what they were talking about.
Today, in most fitness programs taught around the world, deep breathing is practically ignored. This is a major mistake as, to quote one of my former teachers, “Your breath is your power.”
You can tell a lot about a person simply by observing how he or she breathes. In fact, I believe you can map out the structure of how the person lives life. Shallow breathers tend to be shallow people. Deep breathers tend to be interested in far more than the superficial.
The sound a person makes when breathing, especially while exercising, is also revealing. Does he or she have a problem with being seen or heard? You’ll know by whether or not you can hear the person breathing. Does this person breathe in a way that says, “life is a struggle” – or in a way that shows how
they simply “flow?”
Maybe you’ve never paid much attention to the subject of deep breathing before. For the first 25 years of my life I didn’t either. Yet, I assure you, life is much better when you’re in tune with how you breathe.
Pay attention to your breathing. Make sure it is deep and full.
Spend 10-15 minutes per day working on it and you’ll readily understand why your breath is your power.
Kick butt – take names,
P.S. One of the greatest things about the conditioning I teach is that it gets you to breathe deeply, even if you don’t want to or don’t know how. This alone is enough to do as Farmer Burns said, “Make many a weak man (or woman) strong and many a sick man well.”