Acknowledging Your Breath: A Brief Introduction from a Yogi

    Did you suddenly become aware of the fact that you are breathing? If you didn’t after reading the title of this post, you definitely are now. Take a second. Think about it. Close your eyes, take five deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling fully, before continuing on. Seriously, do it.

    What do you notice now? How tired you are? How much you wanted to keep your eyes closed? Maybe you notice a slowing in your breath, your heart rate or even experienced discomfort. The truth, is that strange things happen when we stop to recognize our breath. Suddenly, we are forced to experience something within ourselves that only we have the power to understand and control. By acknowledging our breath, we are able to assess our physical, mental and emotional states. In this way, our breath functions as a tool facilitating the process of self-awareness.

    But what does all this self-awareness have to do with Ron Grobman’s Tactical Fitness-Austin? Who is this Yoga-chick blabbing on about breath and power, anyway? To this I say, good questions…

    As a former combat sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces’ Urban Search and Rescue Unit, I know a thing or two about the instruction of weapon proficiency, shooting, self-defense and fitness conditioning. The yoga, came later, following my service, but today, I join the two worlds for the sake of your individual progress in these fields. Coincidently, the term “Yoga” means “to join,” “to unite” and/or “union,” in the context of a mind/body connection. So in a sense, the very purpose of this post is Yoga: to unite the awareness of your breath with your practice or shooting or fighting (Krav Maga). By acknowledging the connection between your breath, physical body and mental state, you will be able to have complete control over your progress and proficiency both in your work with Ron and in other facets of your life.

    So with that, I leave you with a challenge. Right now, go through your daily routine. Pick a small period of time to acknowledge your breath. Schedule it on your phone or in your calendar. During this time, you will do the following exercise:

  1. Close your eyes and place one hand over your heart (in the center of your chest) and the other on your belly or low abdomen.

  2. Take a moment to acknowledge your current state: are you tense anywhere in your body? Are you scrunching your brow? Check into your self.

  3. Take five deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling completely through your nose – and when I say “completely,” I mean absolutely, 100%.

  4. After the initial five breaths, release your hands to your knees or sides, depending on if you are sitting, standing or lying down.

  5. Take five more deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling completely through your nose.

  6. Take a few moments before opening your eyes to acknowledge any differences you may notice.

    This all seems very simple, but I assure you, it is not. Be patient, with time, the impact of this simple exercise will be realized. Thank you for beginning this journey with me and stay tuned for additional posts delving into the specific relevance between breath and other individual activities offered at Tactical Fitness. This is just the tip of the iceberg.




Naomi Spilka

Off-Site Resident Yogi, Tactical Fitness-Austin


**For any comments or questions, feel free to contact Naomi at