Breathing, relaxation, and imagery are mentioned
throughout the lessons so often because they’re such
fundamentally important tools for the
Warrior/Champion. I call them “The Critical Three.” I
remember how often Leo-tai spoke of all three. They’re
all crucial in order to help create the Ideal Mental
Climate from which peak performance springs forth.
Sometimes clients tend to get over-analytical about
the “right” way to practice breathing or the “right” way
to go deep into relaxation 먹튀검증. It’s always fun to show them
that in reality, it’s much easier than they ever thought it
First, let’s learn about breathing.
I have a memory of Leo-tai from a time when I had
been watching him high up on a mountain, and so near
the edge that I worried he might fall. He was practicing
what he called his focused breathing, his hands
sometimes flowing to the rhythm of his breathing in
slow and balanced circular motions, and sometimes not.
He had taught me to do just as he was doing, to
draw the air in deeply and slowly to the bottom of my
lungs through my nose, while expanding the diaphragm.
Then, after holding it momentarily, he slowly pushed the
air out of the lungs by drawing the diaphragm in. He
explained that it’s important to let the air out through a
relaxed and slightly opened mouth while keeping the tip
of the tongue pressed lightly against the ridge behind the
front teeth, with the tongue touching the roof of the
Afterwards, I asked him what was going through his
mind as he practiced his breathing.
“Nothing,” he said, “I just observe my breathing.
That’s all. If a thought comes to me, I pay it no attention
and it soon flows away. The more I focus on the
breathing, the more I observe the breathing, the quieter
my thoughts become. And also, notice that I can
practice the breathing without any form whatsoever,
“What do you mean, without any form?” I asked.
“I can practice my focused breathing whenever I
want, even now as I sit and visit with you,” he told me. “I
practice focused breathing to help keep me centered-to
help bring me back to the present. I can do it without
form. You do not see me moving around or flowing as a
tai-chi master does do you? Yet still I am practicing my
I’ll never know why, but the sureness and simplicity
of the words that he spoke that day have never left me.
I’m grateful for that because I’ve learned through
experience, that it’s through the focused breathing that
he taught me, that I’ve always been able to begin to
achieve the mental control or focus that was required,
for whatever serious challenge I may have been facing at
So, from now on, whenever focused breathing is
mentioned in any of our other lessons, you’ll know
exactly what we are describing, how it’s done, and why
it’s part of the mix of tools that helps us achieve mental
control. It’s important to practice focused breathing if
one hopes to ever be able to harness the power of the
technique. Master your breath, and you can master your
There is a second important concept mentioned
throughout The Art of Mental Training that Leo-tai
never tired of explaining, time and time again, year after
year. Let me explain as he did to me: the concept of
relaxation . . . both physical and mental.
What do we mean by relaxation? And why is
relaxation practice so important for the athlete and
Mental Warrior? Relaxation matters because when used
with mental imagery it facilitates and allows our inner
(subconscious) mind to clearly see our success imagery
and feel our success feelings.
It’s only when we are in a deep state of relaxation
that the conscious mind quits acting as a filter for the
inner mind. It’s when the critical conscious mind is set
aside through relaxation (for several minutes) that our
Imagineering can reach the inner mind directly. Among
other things, the inner mind is a goal-striving
mechanism. Show it your goals through imagery and
with feelings of them as having already been
accomplished . . . and it sets out to help you make it so.
It accepts the input as being true. Seemingly saying to
itself, since this is true, then these must be the actions
that I must be taking that help make it so.
And that’s critically important because by blending
breathing, relaxation and the third critical element,
Imagineering, the mental athlete is able to tap an inner
resource designed to help him achieve his goals.
Coming from within, your motivation and volition
become stronger and more focused. From within, you’ll
soon find yourself more easily doing all the things that
need to be done in order for you to accomplish your
goals. When the inner mind is able to see what you
want, it’s able to help you get what you want. Relaxation
skills are what open up the lines of communication
between the inner mind and your Imagineering. Proper
breathing helps you go deeper into relaxation whenever
you so desire.
So, what does relaxation practice entail? And how
do you practice setting up these lines of communication?
The ability to achieve a state of deep relaxation
easily and quickly comes only through practice. After a
few weeks of practice, one can usually enter a deep state
of relaxation within a few minutes of deciding to do so-
and for some it can happen even quicker than that.
I tell my clients to consider practicing and
developing this skill by using the following process. I
remind them that if they just allow the process to
happen naturally, then it will. You can’t try to force
relaxation, but with practice anyone can learn how to
slip into relaxation quite easily.
Move to a quiet space where you won’t be
disturbed. Lie down on your back with your feet slightly
apart, arms slightly extended from your body, palms
facing down, and make sure you are as comfortable as
possible before proceeding. (In other words: no tight or
restrictive clothing, temperature not too hot, not too
cold, etc. Get comfortable).
Now, fix your eyes on a point above you on the
ceiling. Remaining as still as you can, begin by taking
three long, deep, deep, breaths, inhaling through your
nose. Hold each breath temporarily, and then exhale
slowly through your mouth. And with each breath that
you release, I want you to feel a wave of relaxation begin
to overwhelm you as you let go and begin to enjoy the
As you exhale the third breath, gently let your
eyelids begin to close. Now, for the next ten breaths,
imagine your eyelids getting heavier and heavier. I want
you to mentally repeat the word “deeper” as you exhale
and let all tension and thoughts disappear every time
you breathe out. Let yourself go deeper into relaxation
with each breath that you let out. If your mind drifts,
that’s okay; just gently bring your attention back to
learning how to relax and how to let go as you exhale
and mentally repeat the word “deeper” slowly to
yourself. After ten easy breaths, you are ready to begin
focusing on relaxing the muscles of every part of your
Start with your toes and begin moving up your body
as total relaxation begins to take over. Focus on relaxing
each and every muscle in your body. From toes to
calves, to thighs, to abs, to chest, to back, to arms, to
shoulders, and even to your neck: every muscle letting
go and completely relaxing. Continue all the way up to
the scalp and facial muscles. Visualize each muscle
loosening, and feel a wave of deep relaxation flowing
deeply into all of your muscles, into all of your body.
Allow yourself to go deeper into relaxation with each
breath that you take.
Don’t rush it, don’t force it; simply allow your
muscles to turn loose, go limp and relax naturally as you
experience the serenity of total relaxation. (Sometimes
clients tell me that a leg or arm twitched or moved
involuntarily for an instant and they ask me about it.
That’s nothing to be concerned about; it’s only the deep
hidden tension being triggered and released from where
it has been hiding. The release of this hidden tension is
both therapeutic and healthy.)
Now, allow yourself to enjoy this state of relaxation
for about twenty minutes, maybe a little more. Drift in
this sea of healthy relaxation and during this time, while
in this deeply relaxed state, watch yourself as in a movie,
and project images in your mind’s eye of you achieving
what you desire. See it as being true. Feel it. Show your
mind through images and feelings what you will
accomplish. See it clearly. Watch yourself
accomplishing it. Experience it inwardly as if it were
Remember that now, through deep relaxation,
you’ve opened a direct channel to your subconscious
mind. Feed it images and feelings of success in your
“movies” that it will then set out to help you accomplish.
With this practice, you are setting a powerful force in
motion from deep inside that will help propel you
towards the success you envision.
After twenty minutes or so of deep relaxation and
“success conditioning” through your use of your mental
images and feelings, it’s time to either bring yourself
back to a state of full awareness-or else time to simply
allow yourself to slip into restful sleep. That’s up to you.
If it’s time to sleep, just let yourself doze off.
However, if you need to bring yourself back to a state of
full awareness, then this is an easy way to do it. Imagine
a staircase with five steps going up. See yourself slowly
climbing up the steps, and tell yourself that with each
step you take that you feel more refreshed, more alert,
and more aware. And, that when you reach the top step,
you’ll feel relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated,
completely alert, and ready to carry on with your day.
When you reach the last step, let your eyelids open,
inhale completely, and stretch. (Of course, if you are
practicing your relaxation during the day within a busy
schedule-there’s no harm in using an alarm clock just
to help ensure that you get back to your schedule on
time in case the deep relaxation ever leads to an
That’s how the Mental Warrior uses breathing,
relaxation and success imagery. He doesn’t use them
only once. Instead, he incorporates them into his
training routine using repetition over several weeks and
months, so that the success conditioning has a chance to
actually be absorbed by the subconscious mind and to
take root, thus helping to improve self-belief, self-
confidence and performance. Through practice like this,
the Mental Warrior is able to engage and use the power
of his subconscious mind in order to help him achieve
Remember what Leo-tai once told me: “The
Mental Warrior learns about focused breathing,
relaxation, and imagery-and then he sets off to
actually use them.”