Today I focused on weaknesses. Physical weakness, mental weakness. Understanding one’s inability to focus can explain shortcomings or lackluster results as much as understanding that correcting a physical weakness can result in better mental clarity.
I noted yesterday that, during the breathing and hold exercise, that the length of time that I could hold my breath was proportional to how fully I exhaled. In order to exhale all of the air from my lungs, I need to fully engage my diaphragm. If I exhale all of the air from my lungs, my theory is, the weakness of the diaphragm wanting to relax creates tension and is often the limiting factor causing me to gasp for air. Today, instead of focusing on the result of having an untrained diaphragm, I tried to focus on improving this weak point.
I still want to improve the times in which I can hold my breath. Today I was a bit all over the place in terms of times. My focus was less on the times, or the diaphragm during that step, and more on being present in each deep inhale and focusing on making each breath count. With time and practice both my ability to control the need to gasp for air, and my breathing techniques will improve. But it is important to understand that it is not going to improve overnight. I will continue to take steps in order to improve:
- Stay fully present during inhale sequence
- Exhale fully before holding
- Continue to strengthen diaphragm with breath of fire and other conscious breathing practices
With these in mind, hold times, and the ability to focus during the practice will improve.
My shoulder is still a bit sore. It causes some discomfort in my neck and back. I think this is a common injury in jiu jitsu caused by rolling over the shoulders and pinching the muscles in and around the rotator cuff. This, while it may not have been the cause, can also be affected by weak or damaged muscles along the spine (often caused by neck cranks).
The cold shower today was pretty good. It is starting to feel normal. A few times during the cold shower I was able to sense my body subconsciously relaxing, sensing the inevitability, as the cold landed on a sensitive spot. It’s like my mind and body know that it is really not that bad.
General observations were
- More aware of weaknesses
- Not letting the full practice be derailed by focusing on them
- Making small steps to improve weaknesses while improving strengths by keeping a general focus
- More comfortable with the cold
|Part 1 – Exhale||Part 2 – Inhale||
Part 3 – Fire
|Minor numbness in feet and pain in hips when seated.
Generally better posture.
|Felt cold sensation in extremities and ears. Lightheadedness
Could feel blood pumping during hold
|Improved posture makes diaphragm engagement more difficult. Good posture is more important.||Still notice some tiny gasps when sensitive areas are hit with cold water. No shivering until around 6-7 min.
Subconsciously gritted teeth a few times.
|Ability to focus – fair/average||Ability to focus – good||Ability to focus – good||Calm, with some aggression|
|15 full exhales||30 full inhalesHold times – 0:55, 1:41, 1:25||None||6-7 min|
|Seated with posture going forward||None||Seated with posture needs improvement.||None|