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Mount Fuji with wind and clear air morning

There is an old proverb that says: "Man is what he thinks and what he eats." But the air is the main source of vitality, the air have a higher priority than food and even water, in fact a human body can endure for several days without food, for a few days without water, but only for a few minutes without breathing.

Whenever you are going to climb or doing any physical or mental activity, your muscles and your nervous system need oxygen. Oxygen allows you to transform the stored energy reserves gained with food into immediately available energy. If you breathe weakly energy obtained will not be enough or will be of low quality. Most climbers use less than one seventh of their lung capacity . This means that even during intense efforts they only use about half a liter of air with each breath, but at their maximum capacity your lungs can hold nearly four liters of air! If you do get a larger amount of oxygen in your respiratory system, every muscle, every organ will be nourished and you will be able to rock climb much more effectively.

In rock climbing the emotional situations strongly affect the progression. If you breathe deeply and slowly, your brain will receive more oxygen, making the senses more acute and strengthening the entire nervous system, this will lead to greater psychological tranquility. The simple act of breathing makes you relax. This is truly amazing! It's so easy to save energy and tension, just breathe properly, everything becomes easier. To understand it properly, you can try to do this simple exercise:

Observe your breathing

Observe the breath as it enters and exits your body. Do not make any attempt to change it. Do not ask how your breathing should be, just observe for several minutes.

Lie down comfortably with your legs slightly apart, hands leaning on each other just below the navel. Breathe normally and try to feel from where your breathing comes. Try to feel if it starts from the belly or the chest. Close your eyes for a few minutes until you can identify the area that expands first.

You'll probably begin to breathe from the diaphragm (the middle part of the lungs) or even the chest. Your breathing will be brief in this case, and the lungs will fill immediately. You will feel a little breathless. But it is not a question of lung capacity! It 's just the wrong way of breathing. The lungs are like a recipient. Like any recipient or bowl should be filled from the bottom (belly) passing gradually to the middle part (diaphragm), and the upper part (chest). The diaphragm is a muscle located between the chest and abdomen. During inspiration, diaphragm shrinks and is pushed down, while you exhale the diaphragm relaxes and the air is expelled from the lungs. Watch a sleeping child, observe his breathing: you will see that while breathing, the air first  fills the abdomen and then expands to the chest. This is the natural way of breathing.

The science of breathing

There are many techniques that can help you correct and improve your respiration. In the culture of Yoga there are various methods and techniques. Pranayama is a method entirely dedicated to the art of breathing. The word prana in Sanskrit means both breath and energy.

Pranayama is a method to achieve control and rhythm of breathing, so you are able to direct the energies where they are needed and reaching a total control of your respiration.

The science of breathing begins with awareness of what happens during your respiration. You will need to become curious , an explorer of what is produced inside of your being during the process of respiration. Become aware of what you feel as you breathe and how the air passes through your nostrils. This is the first essential step to take. It will take time, but this will have a hugely beneficial effect on your body and on the quality of your climbing.

To do this we can start with a simple but effective exercise to learn how to feel your respiration and start breathing with your belly. Is better to do it lying down, but if the circumstances do not allow you, try this exercise standing or sitting.

Lie down comfortably with your legs slightly apart, place your hands on each other just below the navel and begin to breathe a little more deeply than usual, without effort. Remember that it is strongly recommended not to try to perform a forced breathing. Only later, after you'll become aware of your natural respiration you can begin to control it. Try on each inspiration to expand the belly and to rise a little your hands, but do not try to control, if it fails, do not strain. The inspiration is determined by the downward movement of the diaphragm and expansion of the abdominal area. The exhalation is done through a gradual contraction of the abdominal area by moving the diaphragm upward. Is important to understand that inspiration is a consequence of exhalation, the abdominal expansion is the result of its contraction. This type of breathing begins to fill the lungs from the bottom upwards.

When you have reached enough confidence with abdominal breathing try naturally, without contractions and efforts, to move your attention from the stomach to the chest. As you inhale, let your belly expand first, until no longer enters the air, then place your attention on the rear area of the lungs, let enter the air. After filling the back, gently push the air upward to fill even the top part of the lungs. If you prefer you can get some help from the visualization, imagining and following the path of the air.

At first it may seem difficult, but it is only a matter of time. Your breathing will begin to change, and you will feel more vital, with more energy.


A pair of climbers after a long walk stops in front of a beautiful landscape. The man turns to his companion: I love you, dear.

How do you know it's real love? She replies.

Because when I think of you I can not breathe. He replies, still gasping for breath, because of the long walk.

The woman replied calmly: That is your asthma!


Ivo Buda