A special thanks to Alia for sharing with me the topic of today’s post.

The topic of breathing has come up in a number of our posts, but most deal with proper bracing under load.  Besides keeping you from turning blue and passing out, breathing can serve a valuable purpose by enhancing your focus during a workout.  Oftentimes our inner voices are over active during a workout, and the self-talk that ensues is often less than motivational.  Back in May I posted on becoming more aware of your self-talk and ways to help enhance your self-talk which can help improve motivation, but honestly even positive self-talk takes mental energy and when we’re already tired physically and mentally the self-talk can detract from your mid-wod focus.

The CrossFit Journal recently posted an article by Haley Parlen on Conscious Breathing and its benefits.  In short conscious breathing is a mental technique to help us avoid getting tangled up with an inner battle between our thoughts and to instead redirect our focus to our breath.  She contends this technique helps to ground our mind and help it become more in tune with our body.  However, in order to improve with this technique some practice is necessary.

This technique requires us to train our awareness to observe what’s going on in our minds and our body’s sensations without actually reacting to them; to observe without becoming emotional.  By focusing on our breathing we’ll avoid being bullied by our own thoughts.  You may find yourself tuning out all the chatter and noise in your mind and around you as you focus on the sound of yourself inhaling and exhaling.  People typically find that the trance-like state they enter helps them push themselves to new limits and helps workouts go by much quicker.

After finding the article above, Alia put this technique to practice last week and said she breezed through her last set of kettlebell swings like they were nothing and it wasn’t until she had finished that realized Scott had been cheering her on as he prepped for the 7:30am WOD.  The CrossFit Journal posted a video of Haley’s session working with well-known CrossFit athletes and the video gives you an example of how to practice breathing and methods for becoming more in tune with your breathing.  Watch and observe the techniques and cues she gives and practice for at least 5 minutes a day, if not longer, on your own if you want to improve your breathing and focus.  Sharpen your mental edge by learning this trick and it will pay dividends, especially in the tougher workouts.

WOD 01.19.11

3 Rounds for Time:
8 Ring Dips
20 Wallball Shots
12 Kettlebell Snatches
15 Power Cleans

3 Responses to “Just Breathe”

January 19, 2011 at 11:17 AM

A little off topic of Sean’s post, the gym here posted an article featuring the MoveNat experience.
Very cool and my favorite line is:
“listening to more reggae encourages rhythm and flow.”
It’s from Outside Magazine and Crossfit gets nice shout outs!!
love and miss u kids.

January 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Woohoo! I think some peeps from here may be interested in going to MovNat’s one day workshop up in your neck of the woods!

Congrats on becoming a radio celebrity!!!!

January 19, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Great post guys I enjoyed reading this!