We are hearing a lot about the benefits of deep breathing these days. And it’s funny to me how many people view deep breathing exercises as a “new thing.”
Farmer Burns wrote about the power of deep breathing exercises in his 1914 by-mail course, Lessons in Wrestling and Physical Culture.
But he didn’t teach deep breathing with the primary objective of helping you to relax, as is so often promoted today.
Relaxation is one of many deep breathing benefits, but this alone will not give you an enhanced experience of personal power.
When you watch a great athlete or martial artist, you are not watching someone who is 100 percent relaxed. When someone is totally relaxed, there’s no vigor or vitality. As Farmer Burns would put, you want “snap and ginger.”
Why do I say that relaxation alone is undesirable? I say it because when you’re too relaxed, there’s nothing holding your body together as one unit.
In order to demonstrate power, you want to move in a connected, animalistic manner. This means you need to have enough tension to hold your body together so you can move forcefully. Without some tension, you have nothing.
Students of modern approaches to deep breathing are often confused because they are not being told about the “in-between space” – the part where relaxation and tension co-exist and support each other.
Martial arts teachers often fail to explain this concept of relaxed-tension accurately. Much of the difficulty is a result of mistranslating the word “relax.” Let me assure you, in Asian cultures, their mental image for “relax” does not mean empty or totally soft, yet that is how the idea is communicated in the west.
Being relaxed is a wonderful thing when you’re stressed and rattled. But when you want to exert strength, power, speed, agility, explosiveness, as well as flexibility, relaxation alone will get you nowhere. You must have a certain degree of tension within your relaxation – or a fair percentage of relaxation within your tension. It’s that yin and yang concept, all over again.
100 percent relaxation is an erroneous objective.
80 percent relaxation and 20 percent tension is a good place to start, if you want to think in terms of numbers.
But the truth is you will figure out how much tension and how much relaxation is ideal for you when you follow the exercises Farmer Burns laid out for you in Lessons in Wrestling and Physical Culture.
As you do the exercises each day, you don’t need to think much about how much of one or the other. The answers will come to you. Your brain and body will tell you how much tension you need to use.
Within days of beginning the exercises, you’ll notice that you’re going about your day with much stronger feelings of personal power. These strong feelings will be supported by the appropriate level of physical and mental relaxation, for YOU.
In many cases, you will feel the changes taking place within you the first time you do the exercises.
You’ll feel vim and vigor, snap and ginger. And you’ll dig it.
Get the Farmer’s book NOW and begin experiencing the difference it will make in your life.
P.S. Already have the Farmer’s book? Then you may be ready for the Farmer’s kick butt video course.