Sharing a perspective on Aikido practice as a healing therapy is much needed in today's world. The purpose of Aikido training is the harmonization of the self with others and the world. Through purification breathing exercises and dynamic meditation or martial technique (budo) the path becomes clear - we must join our energies for a positive and exponential effect in the world.
The way that I view Aikido Practice is as a healing therapy for the body, mind and spirit. When you come into the dojo, you sit quietly for a moment with your eyes closed, looking to correct your posture, to relax, to be natural and to bring yourself into a state of mind that is connected, responsive, open, that feels it's ready, because you are in the “here and now” ready to respond to whatever is happening around you. This is very important, for us not to be isolated, trapped in our own head and not been able to respond accordingly to what is happening around us.
I like to spend a good amount of time with the breathing exercises known as “misogi” or “qigong” practice. These exercises to me are very important because deep breathing complete transforms the way your mind operates.
Your state of mind is completely linked to your breathing pattern.
Have you ever observed your breathing while you were having a strong negative emotion? If you were angry, your breathing was shallow, short and with a disruptive pattern. This is what happens when we are going through negative emotions -- fear, jealousy, envy, it’s like we have no center and we are detached from the ground. There is a clear connection between your breathing pattern and your state of mind.
At the same time, if you can remember the last time you were going through a positive emotion or feeling like being in love or compassion towards another person, a situation or yourself, your breath was deep, calm, long and slow with a natural flowing rhythm. Meaning, the breath is mimicking the mind, or perhaps it is the mind that is mimicking the breath.
This is a key principle to understand in martial arts, yoga and meditation practices called "regulation of the mind though the breath,” by slowing your heart rate down and freeing your system from obstacles and negative energies through the practice of deep breathing exercises, you are able to bring yourself to the most optimum and positive state of operation.