- Mind Skills - Visualization, mental rehearsal, and recall techniques of past successful experiences etc.
- Medical Intervention - ENT, Pulmonary, Neurological, Voice Coach specialist's advice, Acupuncture, etc,
- Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique - this method is the one we are going to look at in more detail.
For general stress control and mind-body calming; before, during and after work, study, exam, exercise, performance, competition, recovery from illness or shock, and for meditation.
The overall technique can be adapted to suit different situations-sports and performance.
- To the count of 4, take a deep and slow breath via nose, and watch-feel with your palm, the diaphragm being pushed down (while imagining the air entering body through the 'centre of our energy ' spot, just bellow the belly button).
- Hold breath to the count of 2.
- To the count of 8, exhale the air slow and long via pursed lips, and watch-feel with your palm, the diaphragm being sucked-pushed upward (while imagining the air is leaving the body through the energy centercenter point, below the belly button).
- Pause to the count of 2.
- Repeat the cycle for 5 min.
Note: It is very important to attach a meaning to the air being inhaled and exhaled.
- For inhalation: you can imagine and follow the life-giving air entering your body, feeding, nourishing, energizing and calming every molecule, cell, muscle and organ in your body. By seeing, hearing and feeling it in your mind's eye.
- For exhalation: you can imagine the air leaving the body representing toxins, aches, pains, anxiety, worry, fear, negative thoughts... by seeing, hearing and feeling them in your mind's eye.
Before Performance (preparation)Use DBT before and during exercise rest intervals (eg: before setting off from the wall-swimming).
- Inhale to 4.
- Exhale to 6.
- Repeat for the duration of rest period.
During Performance (Exercise Swimming)Progressive DBT Practices-Dry Land
First, with the help of a trained breathing coach, one has to re-learn again how to use and control the diaphragm movement correctly. The key to a DB technique in swimming is:
- On inhalation: Quick and large volume of the air is to be taken in.
- On exhalation: A prolonged and evenly discharge of the air is maintained throughout the cycle of the motion being executed (arm cycle-swimming).
- A puffing action at the end of the exhalation phase will enable the athlete to completely empty his/her air tank-lungs.
- Note here: the amount of air being inhaled is always a function of the amount of the air being exhaled.
- Walking Practices: Learning the DB technique first through walking action, is the best way to familiarize the mind-body system, with the timing and the rhythmic aspect of the DBT technique-process.
- Unilateral practices: Breathing in on the start/recovery of every second step-stride.
- LHS (Left Hand Side) and RHS (Right Hand Side) practice: Just before the back foot is about to be lifted off the ground, a quick and large amount of air is taken in via mouth. As the same foot moves forward and is about to touch the ground, a long, continuous, and even exhalation action-via mouth, and lasting through the second forward step (with a puff at the end) is executed.
- Repeat 10 x two step-stride cycle.
- Breathing in on every fourth step-stride. LHS and RHS practices.
- Bilateral practices: As above, but breathing in on every 3rd, and 5th or 7th step-stride.
- Treadmill-Gym Practices (consult fitness instructor first):
- The next phase of progressive dry land practices can be effectively achieved on a treadmill in the gym.
- Starting on 3-4 km/hr treadmill speed, and then progressing on to 5, 6, 7 and up to 8 km/hr speeds, the DB technique is practiced and consolidated further.
Using Arms (for swimming)- Dry Land Practices
- Now, we are moving the practices to the arms (swimming specific).
- Simulating: choreographing arm action corresponding to all four strokes used in swimming, one can further consolidate the learning of Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique.