All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together.
In a recent post, I talked about the involuntary reactions that can happen when you get a strong dose of fear, causing an “adrenal stress” reaction – a hormone-induced state which causes your heart rate to skyrocket and can be accompanied by all sorts of problems like tunnel vision (you’re looking through a narrow tube), “auditory exclusion” (you can’t hear), up to wetting your pants and blanking out only to find you are running full blast down the street.
What do you do about this?
One of the answers to this problem is called “Combat Breathing” or “Strategic Breathing.” Cops are trained in this technique to help them regain clam and a clear mind so they can shoot straight in a gunfight and you can use it in any stressful situation ranging from making a speech to having a street fight.
The technique quickly lowers your heart rate, even if it was caused by adrenal stress.
You breathe in four sections or cycles.
Breathe in through your nose (deeply down into your “dan tien,” or just below your belly button) and count to four (one-thousand one, one-thousand two, etc).
Hold your breath for four seconds, but don’t strain.
Exhale through your mouth for four seconds, completely emptying your lungs.
Hold your breath for four seconds.
Repeat this cycle four times if possible.
Your heart rate will drop significantly. For police, this can mean the difference between being capable of shooting straight or not. If you perceive a fight coming that you can’t escape, this can mean the difference between having a clear head and being sloppy and out of control. I’ve used this a lot for public speaking, and it works great to calm me down and clear my mind of the anxiety.
If I’m really having trouble catching my breath, I find I don’t do the hold part – but I will breathe in slowly and exhale slowly, in a controlled manner. Its obvious you want to breathe in more oxegen but its less obvious that its really important to make sure you get rid of the air in your lungs that is now more carbon dioxide and less oxygen. And to slow it all down.
I train it frequently when I’m working out. When I get really out of breath after sprinting or doing a particularly difficult lift, I’ll use this to get my heart rate down. I’ve done it on a Precor machine (the ones that allow you to run in place on little feet pads) with the pulse counter and you can watch it drop significantly. I can always go from the “red” on the Precor (over my suggested heart rate) back into the black within the four cycles, usually dropping by 10 beats per minute or more.