Breathing

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Scott Lemley, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    Breathing. Now we're talking, Ruth. If "balance" is our mantra, slow, deep breathing is the core of
    our daily practice.

    I know, I know, many of you will say "What's he talking about!? I'm conscious of my breathing!
    What's the big deal? Everyone breathes!" But you're not really conscious of your breathing. Not
    unless you practice breathing as an art form. Breathing for most of us is involuntary . . . unless
    you MAKE it voluntary. That's when breathing becomes something very powerful.

    This was my 4th year coaching the LHS swim team. The graduating seniors and I started with the
    program at the same time. When our boys won the state meet a couple weeks ago (for the first time in
    the school's long history) it was a very sweet moment. We also won the Sportsmanship Award. That was
    even sweeter.

    For 4 years now I've started every high school practice with 10 slow deep breaths. Think that was an
    easy sell to 50 high school students? NOT. That first year I slowly brought them around to believe
    in my martial arts based swim practices. Several of the swimmers simply refused to participate when
    I had everyone lay down on the deck and practice 10 slow, deep breaths. They thought it was pretty
    lame. Those who bought into my philosophy averaged 5% improvement that season. The next year
    everyone was into slow, deep breathing. I added a bit of meditation. Some giggled and laughed and
    didn't take it seriously. The ones who did averaged 6% improvement that season. The 3rd year
    everyone was into slow, deep breathing and meditation.

    I'd almost be willing to take a control group and have them do nothing more than practice slow, deep
    breathing for 2 hours every day while the rest of my team swims a normal practice. It might be
    interesting to track the results throughout the season. Except I know that there are a lot more
    lessons to learn than conscious breathing and I wouldn't want the members of the control group to
    miss out on them.

    How many of you practice slow, deep breathing? I'd be interested in knowing.

    Regards,

    Scott
     
    Tags:


  2. Diablo

    Diablo Guest

    "Scott Lemley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > How many of you practice slow, deep breathing? I'd be interested in knowing.

    Having read this post, and one in another string by a yoga-fanatic, i *am* going to try this. For
    the sake of a minute a workout, i'm sure its no loss if it doesn't work. The group is already hip
    with breathing exercises as we practice hyperventilation.
     
  3. Swanger

    Swanger Guest

    "Scott Lemley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Breathing. Now we're talking, Ruth. If "balance" is our mantra, slow, deep breathing is the core
    > of our daily practice.

    (snipped the rest)

    You're hitting home runs all over the place. I was advocating breathing techniques 20 years ago when
    I was a youngish ski race coach. I emphasized the chest and the tummy moving in unison while
    throwing in a bit of light low humming,,,ohming.(did you ever do that?) The relaxation and focus
    while waiting for 50 skiers to start in front of you did wonders for the jitters.

    Rick Swanger
     
  4. M.W.Smith

    M.W.Smith Guest

    Scott Lemley wrote:

    > Breathing. Now we're talking, Ruth. If "balance" is our mantra, slow, deep breathing is the core
    > of our daily practice.
    >
    > I know, I know, many of you will say "What's he talking about!? I'm conscious of my breathing!
    > What's the big deal? Everyone breathes!" But you're not really conscious of your breathing. Not
    > unless you practice breathing as an art form. Breathing for most of us is involuntary . . . unless
    > you MAKE it voluntary. That's when breathing becomes something very powerful.
    >
    > This was my 4th year coaching the LHS swim team. The graduating seniors and I started with the
    > program at the same time. When our boys won the state meet a couple weeks ago (for the first time
    > in the school's long history) it was a very sweet moment. We also won the Sportsmanship Award.
    > That was even sweeter.
    >
    > For 4 years now I've started every high school practice with 10 slow deep breaths. Think that was
    > an easy sell to 50 high school students? NOT. That first year I slowly brought them around to
    > believe in my martial arts based swim practices. Several of the swimmers simply refused to
    > participate when I had everyone lay down on the deck and practice 10 slow, deep breaths. They
    > thought it was pretty lame. Those who bought into my philosophy averaged 5% improvement that
    > season. The next year everyone was into slow, deep breathing. I added a bit of meditation. Some
    > giggled and laughed and didn't take it seriously. The ones who did averaged 6% improvement that
    > season. The 3rd year everyone was into slow, deep breathing and meditation.

    I'm all for slow, deep breathing, but you don't say what the results were for those who didn't
    participate. 6% doesn't sound like a big drop to me. In high school, I dropped about 10% each year,
    and I wasn't practicing slow, deep breathing at the time because I didn't know any better.

    martin
     
  5. "Scott Lemley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Breathing. Now we're talking, Ruth. If "balance" is our mantra, slow, deep breathing is the core
    > of our daily practice.
    >
    > I know, I know, many of you will say "What's he talking about!? I'm conscious of my breathing!
    > What's the big deal? Everyone breathes!" But you're not really conscious of your breathing. Not
    > unless you practice breathing as an art form. Breathing for most of us is involuntary . . . unless
    > you MAKE it voluntary. That's when breathing becomes something very powerful.
    >
    > This was my 4th year coaching the LHS swim team. The graduating seniors and I started with the
    > program at the same time. When our boys won the state meet a couple weeks ago (for the first time
    > in the school's long history) it was a very sweet moment. We also won the Sportsmanship Award.
    > That was even sweeter.
    >
    > For 4 years now I've started every high school practice with 10 slow deep breaths. Think that was
    > an easy sell to 50 high school students? NOT. That first year I slowly brought them around to
    > believe in my martial arts based swim practices. Several of the swimmers simply refused to
    > participate when I had everyone lay down on the deck and practice 10 slow, deep breaths. They
    > thought it was pretty lame. Those who bought into my philosophy averaged 5% improvement that
    > season. The next year everyone was into slow, deep breathing. I added a bit of meditation. Some
    > giggled and laughed and didn't take it seriously. The ones who did averaged 6% improvement that
    > season. The 3rd year everyone was into slow, deep breathing and meditation.
    >
    > I'd almost be willing to take a control group and have them do nothing more than practice slow,
    > deep breathing for 2 hours every day while the rest of my team swims a normal practice. It might
    > be interesting to track the results throughout the season. Except I know that there are a lot more
    > lessons to learn than conscious breathing and I wouldn't want the members of the control group to
    > miss out on them.
    >
    > How many of you practice slow, deep breathing? I'd be interested in knowing.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Scott

    Here is a personal perspective on the subject, Scott:

    I have been practicing mindful breathing for nearly twenty years, mainly through swimming, but still
    feel that I am just a beginner. Over the years I observed the development of this practice, seeing
    enough results that still motivates me to explore further and deeper.

    As you have mentioned above, an affinity between martial arts - which according to the history of
    their development have originally grown out the yoga system - and swimming seems natural. We know
    that the best swimmers, in addition to having the right physique and training, are often possessed
    with fluid, harmonious and relaxed motion. Almost an "artistic" quality beyond having learned the
    tricks of the trade.

    They are finely integrated. What is their secret? One secret is harnessing rhythm, strung on
    breathing.

    That achievement depends on as much natural potential, as to mindful development of that talent. I
    am fortunate to find myself amongst naturally talented swimmers which is one of my gifts that I
    treasure, and use on a daily basis.

    As to development, originally I am of the "hard-nosed" school of no mumbo jumbo: scientific
    evidence, etc. I'm a planner of human environment for business activities, using design, ergonomics
    and hard business reasoning.

    My approach to my training is basically very much in the mould of current thinking on physical
    education, and I keep myself updated on the subject as much as I can.

    My studies however consistently pointed me in the direction of the history of human endeavour to
    integrate mind and body, which lead me to Zen and eventually Yoga system; the matrix of Zen.

    A good deal of misunderstanding seems to surround attempts at linking ancient systems of body
    discipline, to complement the modern hard-nosed approach to physical education. Myself being amongst
    the guilty ones for having been dismissive and ignorant in the earlier encounters with ancient
    systems, for their apparent obscurity and irrationality.

    But the core knowledge in these ancient arts, once cleared from the mystic fog that surrounds them,
    will reveal sharply rational systems of mind-body disciplines, with a decisive emphasis on breathing
    and slow motion, leading to fast, powerful and skilfully directed actions. No mystery there for the
    sceptics once they try.

    The challenge lies not in conquering the body, as it seems to be the primary goal of contemporary
    physical education, but the mind. And there's the rub.

    You have mentioned "deep breathing" above. Deep breathing results from _complete breathing_ as Larry
    explained in response to one of my posts : "top, middle, and bottom" and the wave motion in its
    execution. This can be achieved best when the body is in good posture, supple and relaxed.

    No amount of "deep breathing" practice can engrain the habit of "complete breathing", unless the
    body is first educated. That is why Yoga begins with opening of the body that leads to good posture
    and a relaxed body, in readiness for complete breathing whose lack deprives most of us from many
    benefits that it can bring.

    The reason that breathing is often neglected is because it is easier to train the muscles than the
    mind. Breathing discipline is linked more to the mind than the body, and practically delegated
    (relegated) to the involuntary system.

    In my experience, I have been very successful with my body. It is lean, supple and athletic, and
    quite youthful looking for my age: 50. I am flattered that young strong swimmers mark me in the pool
    to measure themselves, trailing behind. But my struggle with developing perfect breathing discipline
    is only at the beginning, albeit relatively advanced.

    My awareness of this critical mind-body link fuels my determination to continue with my combination
    of swimming and breathing exercises to eventually reach a level of success in bringing this
    involuntary function under a healthy degree of will.

    As for meditation that you mention, the only time that I find for it is when I swim. When I start
    swimming, I have a mind full of swirling thoughts about mundane affairs of daily life. But within
    doing four sets of 400 freestyle, I realign and quieten my mind. The rest of the session is a
    pleasure cruise with the body the boat, the mind the voyager, and the breath the wind! :)

    Regards, Shahin

    PS Your posts in r.s.s. are amongst the most readable, Scott. I am also grateful for introducing me
    to the idea of "fist swimming" which I find most rewarding.
     
  6. Totalswimm

    Totalswimm Guest

    >How many of you practice slow, deep breathing? I'd be interested in knowing.

    In TI workshops, and in my books, we advocate to swimmers that they ignore the pace clock in all
    skill practice - both drills and mindful whole-stroke. We suggest they replace timed rests with a
    certain number of what we call "yoga breaths" - deep, slow, relaxing. Usually 3 to 5 breaths per
    rest interval. It's both restorative and centering, and keeps the focus on movement quality rather
    than time. Cheers, Terry
     
  7. Ross Bogue

    Ross Bogue Guest

    In <[email protected]> M.W. Smith wrote:
    >
    > You are coaching the cream of the crop. Most coaches don't get so many top swimmers as freshmen.

    I'll say. Most coaches don't get swimmers that fast even as seniors.

    My own high school team (30 years ago) had exactly one swimmer qualify for the state meet during the
    years I was on the team. Even he never managed a 53.6.

    I did the 500yd free. My best time was a 5:41 in my senior year. I won many races with times
    near that.

    Ross

    (who hasn't been under 6:00 ever since. :-( )
     
  8. Ross Bogue

    Ross Bogue Guest

    In <[email protected]> M.W. Smith wrote:
    >
    > Wilson was AAA high school, which, in Washington meant it had about 2000 students, I think.
    > Hannula also coached the Tacoma Swim Club,

    My own school was on the other end of the spectrum. We had 750 students in the school, which made
    us the largest school for 2 counties around. There was no swim club in the area unless you count
    the YMCA's age group team, but they were summer-only and didn't have many members older than 6th
    grade anyway.

    The first year I was on the high school team was the first year the school had a team. The coach was
    really the band teacher, who had volunteered because his son was on the team. He tried hard and
    followed Councilman's book religiously. We had a lot of fun, even if we didn't win many meets.

    The second year (my senior year), the school hired a PE major from the local college to be the
    coach. He was a pretty good 1650 swimmer, but didn't really know how to teach technique. I won a
    fair number of races that year with my 5:41 500yd free, but didn't come anywhere near qualifying for
    the state meet. I also didn't have much fun that year, as I didn't get along with some new swimmers
    who had joined the team.

    Ross

    (In fairness, the YMCA team hired a new coach and improved a lot during those years. Our own Swimgal
    was on that team, as was her sister who later swam for Illinois.)
     
  9. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    "M.W.Smith" writes

    ". . . 6% doesn't sound like a big drop to me. In high school, I dropped about 10% each year, and I
    wasn't practicing slow, deep breathing at the time because I didn't know any better."

    If you're just a high school swimmer, in other words, don't train year around, perhaps you can
    expect a 10% drop every year. The highly trained swimmers I work with - 15 to 18 year olds who have
    been committed club swimmers from the age of 7 or 8 - would be ecstatic with 10% improvement. I post
    a chart during the high school season with drops predicated on their best time coming into the
    season showing them what 3%, 4%, 5% and 6% would equate to. I tell them if they fully commit to the
    season, they should have high expectations meaning a 3% drop. If their mental skills and physical
    skills are very good, they may end up with 4 or 5%. If they're "big meet" swimmers, meaning they can
    stay poised under pressure (even THRIVE under pressure), they may see a 6% drop.

    As an example, a sophomore middle distance female enters the season with a 2:05 in her 200 freestyle
    and swims a 1:57.5 at the state championship. That's a 3% drop. She comes into the season with a
    57.0 in her 100 freestyle and leads off the 400 free relay with a 53.6. That's a 3% drop. A junior
    distance swimmer comes into the season with a 5:30 for her 500 free and drops to a 5:10.2 at the
    state meet. That's a 3% drop. A frosh male starts the season as a 1:00 backstroker (for a 14 year
    old that's pretty fast) and goes 56.9 at the state meet. That's a 3% drop. I think any high school
    coach would be thrilled with improvements like this at the end of a 13 week season.

    I know I am.

    Regards,

    Scott
     
  10. Mike Edey

    Mike Edey Guest

    On Thu, 04 Dec 2003 01:28:42 +0000, Totalswimm wrote:

    >>How many of you practice slow, deep breathing? I'd be interested in knowing.
    >
    > In TI workshops, and in my books, we advocate to swimmers that they ignore the pace clock in all
    > skill practice - both drills and mindful whole-stroke. We suggest they replace timed rests with a
    > certain number of what we call "yoga breaths" - deep, slow, relaxing. Usually 3 to 5 breaths per
    > rest interval. It's both restorative and centering, and keeps the focus on movement quality rather
    > than time. Cheers, Terry

    When I swim 'for feel' I can't help but think of the 'leanring to fly' passages from Jonathon
    Livingston Seagull. Perhaps a little more literal then Bach intended, but a damn site more
    usefull ;)

    --Mike
     
  11. M.W. Smith

    M.W. Smith Guest

    Scott Lemley wrote:

    > "M.W.Smith" writes
    >
    > ". . . 6% doesn't sound like a big drop to me. In high school, I dropped about 10% each year, and
    > I wasn't practicing slow, deep breathing at the time because I didn't know any better."
    >
    > If you're just a high school swimmer, in other words, don't train year around, perhaps you can
    > expect a 10% drop every year.

    I trained all year. Those high school years are the ones where most kids grow and develop most, so
    their speed should improve a lot during those years just by working out each day.

    > The highly trained swimmers I work with - 15 to 18 year olds who have been committed club swimmers
    > from the age of 7 or 8 - would be ecstatic with 10% improvement. I post a chart during the high
    > school season with drops predicated on their best time coming into the season showing them what
    > 3%, 4%, 5% and 6% would equate to. I tell them if they fully commit to the season, they should
    > have high expectations meaning a 3% drop. If their mental skills and physical skills are very
    > good, they may end up with 4 or 5%. If they're "big meet" swimmers, meaning they can stay poised
    > under pressure (even THRIVE under pressure), they may see a 6% drop.
    >
    > As an example, a sophomore middle distance female enters the season with a 2:05 in her 200
    > freestyle and swims a 1:57.5 at the state championship. That's a 3% drop. She comes into the
    > season with a 57.0 in her 100 freestyle and leads off the 400 free relay with a 53.6. That's a
    > 3% drop. A junior distance swimmer comes into the season with a 5:30 for her 500 free and drops
    > to a 5:10.2 at the state meet. That's a 3% drop. A frosh male starts the season as a 1:00
    > backstroker (for a 14 year old that's pretty fast) and goes 56.9 at the state meet. That's a 3%
    > drop. I think any high school coach would be thrilled with improvements like this at the end of
    > a 13 week season.

    You are coaching the cream of the crop. Most coaches don't get so many top swimmers as freshmen.

    > I know I am.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Scott
     
  12. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    "You are coaching the cream of the crop. Most coaches don't get so many top swimmers as freshmen."

    Something to keep in mind - I coach a small high school team in a very small town located 100 miles
    south of the Arctic Circle. I suspect high schools in almost every other state have much larger
    population bases from which to draw. What I try to do is develop the talent of the swimmers who show
    up the first day of the high school season. If this is the cream of the crop, what do the big high
    schools in California and New York and Florida have to work with?

    Regards,

    Scott
     
  13. M.W. Smith

    M.W. Smith Guest

    Scott Lemley wrote:

    > "You are coaching the cream of the crop. Most coaches don't get so many top swimmers as freshmen."
    >
    > Something to keep in mind - I coach a small high school team in a very small town located 100
    > miles south of the Arctic Circle. I suspect high schools in almost every other state have much
    > larger population bases from which to draw. What I try to do is develop the talent of the swimmers
    > who show up the first day of the high school season. If this is the cream of the crop, what do the
    > big high schools in California and New York and Florida have to work with?

    This was ages ago, but I swam for Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington. At the time I entered as
    a freshman, we had won the Washington state swimming championship about eight or nine years in a
    row. We won it every year when I was there, and they won it every year for many years after I left.
    I think it was more than 25 years. Dick Hannual was the coach.

    Wilson was AAA high school, which, in Washington meant it had about 2000 students, I think. Hannula
    also coached the Tacoma Swim Club, which was in the same area as Wilson HS, so the club fed the high
    school team. We even had families move into the Wilson HS district so their kids could swim on the
    Wilson team. The HS team always had a lot of kids, roughly 20 on the varsity team and another 20 on
    the reserve team. There would have been maybe three or four freshmen each year with times like the
    ones you mentioned. The rest would have been like me with times nowhere near those. There were
    always three or four freshmen who had never swum competitively before, but most were kids from the
    swim club.

    In my case, I never should have been a competitive swimmer, but I love to swim. Hannula was and is
    an outstanding coach, but his coaching was mainly based on doing lots of hard work and on being a
    real inspirational leader. On many days, he wrote down every time of every repeat of every set. When
    you came in to the wall, he would be there with his notebook, and you had to call out the time you
    hit for that repeat. Or after the set he would call your name and you would have to rattle off all
    ten of your repeat times. So everybody knew how bad you were dropping off. Everybody knew if you
    were slacking. And when you got down because you weren't improving, he would pull out the notebooks
    all the way back to when you started, and he would show you how your times had dropped. Sometimes he
    had other kids come in to help run the workouts for the reserve team. There would be one on each
    lane with a notebook, and she would record all the imes for each repeat for everyone in the lane,
    even the kids who had never swum competitively.

    Combine that kind of program with kids going through their main physical and emotional growth
    period, and they have to improve their times.

    martin
     
  14. Tiggy

    Tiggy Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Scott Lemley wrote:
    >
    > > Breathing. Now we're talking, Ruth. If "balance" is our mantra, slow, deep breathing is the core
    > > of our daily practice.
    > >
    > > I know, I know, many of you will say "What's he talking about!? I'm conscious of my breathing!
    > > What's the big deal? Everyone breathes!" But you're not really conscious of your breathing. Not
    > > unless you practice breathing as an art form. Breathing for most of us is involuntary . . .
    > > unless you MAKE it voluntary. That's when breathing becomes something very powerful.
    > >
    > > This was my 4th year coaching the LHS swim team. The graduating seniors and I started with the
    > > program at the same time. When our boys won the state meet a couple weeks ago (for the first
    > > time in the school's long history) it was a very sweet moment. We also won the Sportsmanship
    > > Award. That was even sweeter.
    > >
    > > For 4 years now I've started every high school practice with 10 slow deep breaths. Think that
    > > was an easy sell to 50 high school students? NOT. That first year I slowly brought them around
    > > to believe in my martial arts based swim practices. Several of the swimmers simply refused to
    > > participate when I had everyone lay down on the deck and practice 10 slow, deep breaths. They
    > > thought it was pretty lame. Those who bought into my philosophy averaged 5% improvement that
    > > season. The next year everyone was into slow, deep breathing. I added a bit of meditation. Some
    > > giggled and laughed and didn't take it seriously. The ones who did averaged 6% improvement that
    > > season. The 3rd year everyone was into slow, deep breathing and meditation.
    >
    > I'm all for slow, deep breathing, but you don't say what the results were for those who didn't
    > participate. 6% doesn't sound like a big drop to me. In high school, I dropped about 10% each
    > year, and I wasn't practicing slow, deep breathing at the time because I didn't know any better.
    >
    > martin

    The level at which these kids are swimming is the determining factor on this score. I would wager
    that just about any elite swimmer would be pretty happy about a 6% improvement. E.g., dropping from
    a 1:40 in the 200 yard free to a 1:34 would put a justified smile on anybody's face (particularly in
    the scope of only 1 season.)

    On the other hand, if it's a pretty casual team then 6% would obviously not be as significant.
     
  15. Al

    Al Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > This was ages ago, but I swam for Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington. At the time I entered
    > as a freshman, we had won the Washington state swimming championship about eight or nine years in
    > a row. We won it every year when I was there, and they won it every year for many years after I
    > left. I think it was more than 25 years. Dick Hannual was the coach.
    >
    Were you by chance active during the Rick Collela years? Wasn't he a Wilson grad, or was he only a
    UW swimmer? Wilson High and Dick Hannula definitely resonate among those of us with stacks of dusty
    issues of Swimming World crowding our closets...

    - Al
     
  16. M.W. Smith

    M.W. Smith Guest

    Al wrote:

    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >>This was ages ago, but I swam for Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington. At the time I entered
    >>as a freshman, we had won the Washington state swimming championship about eight or nine years in
    >>a row. We won it every year when I was there, and they won it every year for many years after I
    >>left. I think it was more than 25 years. Dick Hannual was the coach.
    >>
    >
    > Were you by chance active during the Rick Collela years?

    Yes, and his sister Lynn was just as good.

    > Wasn't he a Wilson grad, or was he only a UW swimmer?

    They swam for a club in Seattle. I lost track of them after high school. They were both much faster
    than I was, mainly breaststorkers.

    > Wilson High and Dick Hannula definitely resonate among those of us with stacks of dusty issues of
    > Swimming World crowding our closets...

    He was still at it, when I last swam a few lap swims with him a few years ago. A lot of me
    came from him.

    martin
     
  17. Al

    Al Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Al wrote:
    >
    > > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > >
    > >>This was ages ago, but I swam for Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington. At the time I
    > >>entered as a freshman, we had won the Washington state swimming championship about eight or nine
    > >>years in a row. We won it every year when I was there, and they won it every year for many years
    > >>after I left. I think it was more than 25 years. Dick Hannual was the coach.
    > >>
    > >
    > > Were you by chance active during the Rick Collela years?
    >
    > Yes, and his sister Lynn was just as good.
    >
    > > Wasn't he a Wilson grad, or was he only a UW swimmer?
    >
    > They swam for a club in Seattle. I lost track of them after high school. They were both much
    > faster than I was, mainly breaststorkers.
    >
    > > Wilson High and Dick Hannula definitely resonate among those of us with stacks of dusty issues
    > > of Swimming World crowding our closets...
    >
    > He was still at it, when I last swam a few lap swims with him a few years ago. A lot of me came
    > from him.
    >
    > martin

    I remember watching Rick Collela at the '72 Olympic Trials in Chicago. He was in the thick of things
    with John Henken and Tom Bruce (my brother's teammates at Santa Clara) if memory serves. Didn't he
    have a decent IM as well?

    - Al
     
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