241 - Breathwork: relaxation response
Basic relaxation tactics
“LP” from London wrote to me and mentioned that she had bad jaw pain after catching C19.
The principle of relaxing is muscles is a key one in our training and this following suggestion will explain the idea and give some simple ideas to try out.
There's some research to suggest that doctors believe that this is caused by the stress of difficult breathing and that on recovery the nervous system is stuck in this new habit which causes hypertonicity or tight, painful muscles.
Here's the most basic breathing tactic that is used in workshops to create what's called a relaxation response.
I've mentioned this before in articles but here is the basic pattern and also some other ideas.
Inhale smoothly through the nose
Exhale through the mouth
Pretty simple right?
This pattern accesses what is known as the parasympathetic nervous system, associated with relaxation.
Next focus on making sure that you don't hold the breath when switching between the two but rather create a smooth “cycle” of breathing.
Both the hands and the face contain a lot of nerve endings so try to relax both of these areas.
Relax the jaw and face muscles with a “dead” expression like boredom.
If you're sitting, visualise the hands getting heavier in your lap with each exhalation.
If you become aware of an area of tension – anywhere, in LP's case the jaw – try visualising that when you exhale the breath is passing out of the tense area rather than your mouth. With practice, you can start to perceive a warming of this area as you breathe.
Focus on this warm sensation and visualise the area relaxing and returning to it's correct state of tension.
Self defence application:
The practice of relaxation is very important for self defence training.
To make a relaxed state into habit best prepares the body for stress and also allows more efficient movement for tactics like striking, grappling, running and also allows for better oxygenation when under the effects of adrenaline.
Make it a daily habit. Practice when sitting in traffic, out walking, whenever you can.
Try it out and leave a comment.
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