In ancient Japan, Samurai practiced careful control of their breathing during training so as improve their focus and emphasize each movement.
By controlling their breathing, they were steadying the flow of energy through their body, and ensuring they were in the right state of mind to act with courage.
The day-to-day hurdles we face in modern life have changed since then, but the principles taught can still be utilized today.
These controlled breathing techniques used hundreds of years ago can still be used today to reduce anxiety and build courage before facing an obstacle, or when responding to an imminent threat or sudden change.
Devoting just a few moments to focus on your breathing will have an immediate impact during these kinds of situations that can give you the courage to approach them in the right state of mind.
The key is practicing this breathing ritual regularly, so that you will build confidence and develop a habit that can be utilized when needed most. It is important that when practicing the methods in the rituals to always prepare and warm up correctly as guided in the practice videos.
As you take each breath, visualize the outline of a square in front of you. For each count of four, imagine tracing along the edge of the square.
Inhale to a count of four while going up the left side of the square. Hold the breath to a count of four while moving across the top of the square. Exhale to a count of four while dropping down the right side of the square.
And hold for a count of four while tracing along the bottom of the square. Continue to visualize moving along the outline of the square as you breathe.
Inhale… Two… Three… Four… [approx. four seconds]
Hold… Two… Three… Four…
Exhale… Two… Three… Four…
Hold… Two… Three… Four…
Focus only on your breathing and continue for seven full breaths.
Don’t forget to stand up straight and remember to inhale and exhale through your nose.
As you visualize moving along the square, feel an increasing sense of confidence. You are in steady control of your breathing.
Increase the intensity of this feeling within your body until you can sense that it is part of you.
After practicing this ritual, you should feel relaxed with a decrease in any tension or stress. You should also feel increased confidence with the knowledge of a practical technique that can be utilized to confront an immediate threat.
Just a few moments of controlled breathing can help settle your nerves and build confidence when speaking in public, confronting your boss, or dealing with an authority figure.
Just a few minutes of practice every day can build a habit that can grow into long-term courage to face the future.