Breathing as a daily practice is mostly a lost art in the Western
I first became aware of the power of breathing through my martial
arts training and study. The first art I studied was a fairly
traditional, intensely taught style of Kenpo, which had both
Chinese and Japanese influences.
Later, I studied other traditional arts of both Okinawan and
Korean origin, which also integrated breathing practices and
specific breathing techniques. This provided me with yet another
angle on the practice and power of breathing.
However, my first attempts to practice breathing as a health
practice were actually inspired by my grandfather.
Paa Paa (as we grandkids called him) was a vital, active,
energetic man well into his 90s. As a kid, I used to wake up
early with him. And I mean, EARLY! Paa Paa usually woke up about
When he first got out of bed, he would do what I then thought
were funny stretching exercises. He did them from a standing
position. I would get up and imitate him. As I followed along, I
would also try to follow his breathing pattern. Each movement
had a distinct pattern which aided and enhanced the way the
After that, we would get cleaned up and go to the kitchen to
get some early breakfast. I would sit on his lap and he and I
would read the paper together and get the news from around
Years later as an adult, I discovered that my grandfather was
actually performing some pretty powerful breathing and energy
exercises that were taught back in the early 1900s as part of
physical culture practices.
Turns out, breathing as an art and a health practice is not
just an Eastern or “Oriental” invention. There actually is a
rich Western tradition of integrating breathing practices and
techniques into specific disciplines, including health and
fitness, as well as religion and spirituality.
It’s probably a direct result of my early mornings with my
grandfather, but….my tendency even today is to spend at least
a few minutes each morning, either at or soon after arising,
on breathing and energy exercises.
It’s such a powerful way to start each day.
The way I see it, this precious time – whether it’s a few minutes
or a half hour – is MY time devoted to self-cultivation and
improvement. I get it done early so that, no matter how crazy
or hectic my day may get later, I’m assured of fitting it in.
Then I get a cup of coffee and start my day.
These first minutes provide a sense of energy, control, calm
and balance that can be difficult to describe. Truthfully, any
time you go inside yourself – whether through meditation or
prayer, introspection or daydreaming – is valuable, creative
and soul-satisfying time.
But there are more concrete benefits as well.
For example, learning how to breathe properly and fully,
using your entire breathing apparatus, can help you quickly
and easily focus on any kind of mental or physical work you
are about to engage in.
Learning how to calm, slow and deepen your breathing can help
you overcome feelings of anxiety, stress, or anger which may
impede your ability to solve problems or overcome the typical
stresses of modern life.
Couple breathing with specific types of visualization and
imaging can be even more powerful, serving as the foundation
for incredible improvement in specific areas of your life.
I’ll have more to say on this subject in coming messages,
and will even share a few of my favorite breathing techniques
with you – ones that are simple and easy to learn and do,
but come packed with deep layers of benefits.
You should devote part of your time each day to the cultivation
of breath control and power. Making a small investment of time
in dynamic energy exercises – like the ones I teach you in “The
Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II”
will enhance the results you get from exercise, as well as your
internal energy and focus.
Breathing is the direct and instantaneous way to tap into the
life force, the vital energy that flows through each of us.
Performed properly, deep breathing coupled with dynamic
exercises is a powerful method for accessing and flowing your
Doing these exercises strengthens your body from the inside
out, and has a more profound and lasting effect.
From a purely practical standpoint, this type of dynamic deep
breathing helps develop breath control, expand the capacity
of the lungs, and build stamina. It improves posture. It also
develops the diaphragm, abdominal and other core muscles in
such way that they are strong and coordinated – a key to
developing power for movement, as in athletics, martial arts,
even activities of daily living.
This type of dynamic exercise creates harmony between the breath
and the physical. Not only are you strengthening the muscles
associated with breathing. You also are creating and
increasing a sense of harmony and relaxation across both mind
It’s health-giving and life-extending, and I strongly encourage
you to tap into the benefits that await you from investing just
a few minutes a day – or a few minutes at the start of your
To learn more, visit
You Can Do It!
“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014