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Until you can breathe deeply and slowly, it will be impossible for you to coordinate the internal and external harmonies required for mindfulness martial art practice.
A good way to start breath practice is in the Bear Posture. Instead of holding your hands out to your sides, put the left hand on your lower abdomen and the right hand on your chest.
Breathe in through your nose. Take a deep breath, bringing in as much air as possible. As you breathe in, raise the lower abdomen up as if you are inflating a balloon. Hold your breath long enough to try the next step.
Push down on the lower abdomen with the left hand. As you push down with the hand, pull the abdomen down from inside as well. The breath should feel as though it is moving up and into the chest. Then push the breath back down into the abdomen with the right hand.
Repeat this transfer three times before letting the air out in a long, smooth flow through your nose.
Take a few moments and then repeat the exercise up to five times. When breathing in and out, doing so silently will lengthen the breath and focus your attention.
This exercise focuses entirely on the breath and how it moves in your body. Notice how a full, deep breath feels. Be attentive to the pressure the air creates. When performing internal martial art forms, you will breathe in as you open and breathe out as you close. The old masters said that adding breath to the movement generated power. When performing this exercise, consider how the internal pressure of your breath being released could generate added force in a push.