Ex­am­ine your breath­ing

In the penul­ti­mate part of this Ra­madan col­umn, Wael Al Sayegh takes a look at the im­por­tance of our breath

Friday - - Well-being - Wael Al Sayegh is a cer­ti­fied Tac­fit and Clubbell Ath­let­ics in­struc­tor and CEO and owner of Fam­ily Mar­tial Arts Lead­er­ship Academy in Dubai.

A‘A breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.’ – Rumi

s we grow older we may lose ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the mys­ter­ies and won­ders that con­stantly sur­round us. It of­ten takes a neg­a­tive event like a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent, or the loss of a fam­ily mem­ber or loved one, to re­mind us just how blessed we are. Walk­ing, for ex­am­ple, is some­thing that as adults we don’t need to think about, but once upon a time this took all our fo­cus, ef­fort and at­ten­tion. We jour­neyed to­wards walk­ing with mas­tery; we did not just land there.

The fact that we sleep at night and wake in the morn­ing is a won­der, a daily res­ur­rec­tion. A brand new life awaits us every day and with it the chance to start over. Kids get it. They haven’t lost their con­nec­tion to the mar­vels that sur­round them. They get up early be­fore sun­rise be­cause they just can’t wait to cel­e­brate life. But I think the most for­got­ten bless­ing we all en­joy as adults and as chil­dren is the thing that makes us di­vine: our breath.

Mar­tial arts and well­ness coach Scott Son­non has de­vel­oped a sys­tem of five lev­els of breath that I have trained my­self to lis­ten for care­fully when lead­ing a mar­tial arts class, and adapt the for­mat ac­cord­ingly. ‘No one can hide their fit­ness level or stress level,’ says Scott. ‘Breath is the poly­graph.’

The five lev­els are Fear, Force, Dis­ci­pline, Flow and Mas­tery. Fear breath­ing de­scribes when we in­hale and hold our breath with our bod­ies tense from some­thing we do not un­der­stand. Force is when we force our breath through a move­ment, in­hal­ing and pres­suris­ing in or­der to push through the ef­fort. Dis­ci­pline is train­ing our breath­ing to co­or­di­nate with our move­ment. In this, we ex­hale while ex­ert­ing ef­fort and we in­hale pas­sively dur­ing the re­cov­ery. Flow breath­ing is when we fully adapt to a level of chal­lenge. We ex­hale when the body com­presses and in­hale as it ex­pands, al­most with­out thought. Mas­tery comes from sus­tained pe­ri­ods of flow. It is the most ef­fi­cient and pre­cise breath­ing event in hu­man per­for­mance, and is the fo­cus of much study.

When I work with a stu­dent and hear their breath­ing drop to a Fear or Force level then I sim­plify the move­ment so that they can re­gain Dis­ci­pline. Con­versely, when I see a stu­dent con­sis­tently ris­ing to Flow or Mas­tery I in­crease the com­plex­ity of the move­ment un­til they re­vert to Dis­ci­pline. In this way the body is chal­lenged to grow and adapt, with the right amount of pres­sure and stress.

Breath is a mea­sure­ment, like an X-ray giv­ing vi­tal in­for­ma­tion to the qual­i­fied trainer. To train with­out aware­ness of breath is like driv­ing a car with no speedometer.

On a deeper level one can think of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of breath as a metaphor for how we live. For many of us we are in con­stant fear – of the boss at work, of an authority, or of los­ing a loved one. Oth­ers live a forced life. They force them­selves through work and oc­cu­pa­tions, and get no joy or

Breath gives VI­TAL in­for­ma­tion to the trainer. Train­ing with­out aware­ness of breath is like driv­ing a car with no SPEEDOMETER

en­rich­ment from it. They live in a man­ner that is not in agree­ment with their true selves.

Many of the peo­ple I most ad­mire live a dis­ci­plined life­style. They are co­or­di­nated in what they do, they know when to be ac­tive and when to re­lax. Very few peo­ple I know live a life of flow, al­though I am lucky enough to know and train with a few. Those who have lived a flow life for long enough tran­scend into sages. They be­come masters who ap­pear to do things that seem im­pos­si­ble ef­fort­lessly.

The jour­ney of el­e­vat­ing our breath and the life con­nected to it starts through phys­i­cal move­ment. To do this suc­cess­fully we must live and train in a man­ner that con­nects us with our di­vine na­ture.

In next week’s fi­nal in­stal­ment, I will be shed­ding light on some counter-in­tu­itive truths that will help you bet­ter deal with the big­gest killer of hu­man­ity in this mod­ern day and age – stress. Un­til next Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.