Rickson Gracie explains his breathing philosophy (part 2)

The technique of breathing with the diaphragm, which Rickson learned from Orlando Cani in the early eighties, is not as complicated as people tend to think. Its benefits, according to Rickson, are hard to overstate, and encompass many aspects of his life.

Our recent interview with the legend allowed him to speak at length on the subject. Enjoy the second part of his comments below, and get caught up on part 1 here.

“Singers, divers, yoga trainees—they know how to move the diaphragm, and that brings the air: when you move the diaphragm [deep breath], when I inhale, I fill up the lungs... I'm full. But I'm still not using the high lungs; I'm still just using the bottom part, which is relevant for my oxygen intake. [Breathes out.] So it's something you do based on practice. You have to learn first how to move the diaphragm, which is simple; but if you never learned, you're unaware of the function. 

“So learning how to move the diaphragm, learning how to breathe with the diaphragm, and then, as you use the diaphragmatic breathing, you can over-ventilate, hyperventilate with the increment of the breathing system; you can relax your system by lowering your rhythm; you can lower your heartbeats' rate if you need it; you can be in high performance, like sprinting, for longer times, because you can hyperventilate and keep oxygen flow to the max level. 

“So, anything you wanna— You wanna sleep; by relaxing the breathing, you can sleep very quickly, with no problems in your mind; you can get in the sleeping mode quickly. So I can achieve whatever I want, no matter if it's high performance, deep relaxation or recovery, or acceptance of the pain or the cold; all this comes with a good understanding of how to move the mechanism of breathing in a proper way. It's not difficult, but requires a daily practice, requires a new understanding of— Requires the deep interest by the practitioner to get to the next level, you know?” 


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