The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

Using the breathing cycle to relax tension... Bookmark

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for the beginner of internal training is their ability to relax. Often they will be unable to even lift their arm without building isolation tension in the shoulder, and no matter how hard they ‘try’ they simply don’t have the control to relax specific muscles or areas of tension. In these cases a coach or teacher will often instruct the pupil to use their exhalation as a tool to guide the relaxation of the body.

As we take our ‘in’ breath the inflation of the lungs causes a change in body cavity pressure. Then as we release the breath, the internal system relaxes and is once again in a state of softness.


Now I must highlight that this process of 'pressurising' on the in breath is not an un-natural one, our body has evolved to use this increase and decrease in pressure. The increase in pressure is often used for structural support when lifting large weights or the body is under load. But this process of tensioning via pressurization is one that feeds an entire series of consequences that we can utilize if we want to relax.


If we think of the web of fascia spanning the body, that we have discussed in earlier posts, as being directly linked to this constant change in pressure it becomes clear that the breath will touch everywhere. As we breathe in, the resulting pressure change in the torso and pull on tissues linked to the ribs and diaphragm will, for want of a better term, tension the web. Internal arts adepts can feel this effect, even in their fingers. The body feels like, as the breath flows in, it is being threaded together, pulled or linked. Then as the breath flows out, the body cavity de-pressurises and tensions release.


It is this natural physiological release that we can use too guide the relaxation of tight muscles or areas of tension. Instead of the release being ‘subconcious’ we put our awareness into it and catch the wave of relaxation as it flows through the body.


Once we are able to feel this ebb and flow, through our connected structure via the breath, we are able to direct our attention to specific sticking points or knots in the web where we may be holding tensions and release them. Further still, as we get more advanced in our abilities, we can get to a point of releasing or opening the specific junction points of the web, the myofascial meridians, and actively work on their relaxation or opening to increase overall health and wellness.


There are many very specific breathing methods that are used to increase or focus the feeling of release or connection via abdominal pressure.

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