ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Breath control is a fundamental, learnable skill from which all other forms of psychological skills can develop through practice. Sportspersons, in particular, benefit from breath based psychological skills training, especially in the management of arousal and stress. This article reports on the evaluation of a brief experiential, breath workshop for stress management by sport psychology students. Despite its limitations, main findings indicated the effectiveness of the workshop in decreasing perceived stress and as initial experiential instruction for breath based psychological skills training.
Content may be subject to copyright.
African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD)
Vol. 17, No. 3 (September) 2011, pp. 517-525.
A report on the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress
management by sport psychology students
S. EDWARDS1 AND J. BEALE2
1University of Zululand, South Africa
2University of East London, United Kingdom; E-mail: sdedward@telkomsa.net
(Received: 04 March 2011; Revision Accepted: 08 April 2011)
Abstract
Breath control is a fundamental, learnable skill from which all other forms of psychological skills
can develop through practice. Sportspersons, in particular, benefit from breath based
psychological skills training, especially in the management of arousal and stress. This article
reports on the evaluation of a brief experiential, breath workshop for stress management by sport
psychology students. Despite its limitations, main findings indicated the effectiveness of the
workshop in decreasing perceived stress and as initial experiential instruction for breath based
psychological skills training.
Key words: Breath workshop, stress management, sport psychology.
How to cite this article: Edwards, S. & Beale, J. (2011). A report on the evaluation of a breath
workshop for stress management by sport psychology students. African Journal for Physical,
Health Education, Recreation and Dance, 17(3), 517-525.
Introduction
In everyday life, we experience breath as a constant life energy flow, within and
between our bodies and the wider world. Breath constitutes our main form of
access to and energy exchange with the universe. We may live two months
without food, two weeks without water but only a few minutes without air. The
vital link between breath, life and health has provided the foundation for various
spiritual traditions concerning preservation and promotion of life in this world
and in the afterlife. It also forms an historical and conceptual foundation for
Psychology as an academic and health profession. For example, in its original
meaning, psychology is concerned with breath as energy and consciousness
(Hergenhahn, 2001). In sport, breath constitutes a most essential vital function
and fundamental, learnable skill from which all other forms of psychological
skills can develop through practice.
Breath and stress are intimately interrelated. In general all forms of stress are
associated with shallow or inhibited breathing. While this may have short term
benefits as in sprinting or controlling impulses, if such breathing patterns
become habituated, they lead to various psychological disorders ranging from
everyday emotional problems to forms of psychosomatic illnesses, neuroses,
518 Edwards and Beale
character disorders and psychoses. For example, everyday breathing
observations readily reveal how anger is associated with huffing and puffing,
how grief may bring very short sighs, how fear may cause a withholding or
retention of breath, how worry is accompanied by shallow breathing and how
excessive joy may put a strain on the heart from various forms of extreme
inhalation and exhalation.
Breathing exercises: We are grounded in our experience of the lived body. This
bodiliness accounts for the primarily pathic mode with which phenomena of the
lived world are initially revealed to us. In dialogue with the world, the lived body
is a source of pre-reflective intentionality, meaning and goal directed behaviour
(Merleau-Ponty, 1962). An essence of this bodiliness is the comforting presence
of our breathing, which is also a precondition for transcendence. During times of
clarity and equanimity we are also comforted by the rhythmic regularity of our
breathing and its harmony with the bodily phenomena that appear to our
consciousness. Still sitting and moving forms of breath co-ordinated behaviour
form the foundation for all forms of healing and transcendence as exemplified in
alpha conditioning, biofeedback, transcendental meditation, !Kung healing dance
and Tai chi (Edwards, 2008; Hewitt, 1977; Reid, 1998). Healthy breathing
experiences, that have been bodily re-experienced as anchors, provide a
phenomenological foundation for various forms of imagery, light, sound, colour,
touch and movement used in breath work, expressive therapy, progressive
relaxation, systematic desensitization, crisis intervention and other forms of
caring, healing, counselling, psychotherapy, illness prevention and health
promotion (Edwards, 2009; Ivey, D‟ Andrea, Ivey & Simek-Morgan 2002).
Breath based psychological skills training has been widely used in health and
sports contexts (Edwards & Edwards, 2007).
In sports contexts, breath based psychological skills training can be summarized
into six main points. Firstly, athletes need to practise conscious diaphragmatic
breathing regularly and as much as possible in the actual sporting context.
Secondly, athletes need to consciously practise longer out-breaths when
relaxation is needed and longer in-breaths when needing to increase arousal
and/or stress levels. Thirdly, conscious four-stage breathing may be practiced for
energy and concentration. Fourthly, breathing methods may be complemented
and their effect amplified by various athlete and context appropriate forms of
imagery. Fifthly, actual breath-coordinated sporting movements combined with
appropriate imagery and any other form of relevant psychological skill may be
developed and practised to groove sporting performance. Finally, the special
value of such breath based psychological skills training programmes lies in their
potential to promote health, prevent illness and equip athletes with breathing
skills for life after sport (Edwards, 2008; Edwards & Edwards, 2007).
A report on the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress management 519
Stress management: Survival is a matter of stress and adaptation. Life brings
both negative and positively experienced stressful events or distress and eustress
(Selye, 1976). Multiple factors such as the intensity, duration, perception and
context of stress will determine whether it is experienced as positive, negative or
both (Western, 1999). Healthy living is realized through monitoring and
managing stress. Because of their demonstrated effectiveness, stress
management workshops have become integral components of public health
promotion programmes in many countries (Brown, Cochrane & Cardone 1999).
Relaxation and/or physical exercises, which promote rhythmical, abdominal
breathing are typical integral components of stress management programmes
(Berger, 2001). Jacobson‟s progressive relaxation exercises integratively
counter-balance the experience of tension and relaxation (Jacobson, 1929).
Arguably the most essential component of all such programmes lies in the
effectiveness of their breathing exercises.
There are various means of assessing stress, such as the social readjustment
rating scale developed by Holmes and Rahe (1967), which quantifies life
events/crises such as death of a close family member, member and retirement.
While many of such events are common to most people, the extent to which they
are experienced negatively or positively, as crises or opportunities, is dependent
upon individual perceptions (Frankl, 1959). In breath workshops, probably the
simplest objective method is simply to ask participants to rate their perceived
stress level on some quantifiable scale.
A breath workshop for stress management: Breath workshops for stress
management typically include instruction and experiential practice with regard to
relaxed diaphragmatic breathing and various breathing exercises, the most
essential of which is to observe how stress increases with longer in-breaths and
decreases with longer out-breaths, and some form of evaluative pre- and post-
testing of breath and stress levels. Time, location, group needs, individual needs
and various other factors will affect the depth and quality of individual
instruction possible in such workshops.
Both authors routinely instruct psychology and sport science students as well as
offering breathing workshops to various participants in diverse health, education
and sporting contexts. Research collaboration presented the opportunity for an
international evaluation of the effectiveness of such workshops on stress
management and as an introduction to further instruction in breath based sport
psychological techniques. In view of our previous experience indicating that
breathing exercises improved stress management, it was hypothesized that a
breath workshop would have a significant effect on decreasing levels of stress
both within the group and as compared to a control group which did not receive
such exercises.
520 Edwards and Beale
Methodology
Design and participants
A pre- and post-test quasi experimental and control group design was used to
record participants‟ current stress level perceptions and workshop evaluations.
Experimental group participants consisted of 57 second year sport psychology
students at a large university in the United Kingdom from whom complete
questionnaire data had been obtained. Control group participants consisted of a
convenience sample of 14 third year students who were simply pre- and posted
on the same questionnaire.
An appropriate departmental ethical clearance, informed consent and guaranteed
confidentiality were obtained. All participants were informed that the research
was concerned with the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress management
which involved pre-testing and post-testing. Participants were assured that they
should participate only if they were happy and willing to do so and requested not
to write their names on any questionnaires they handed in.
Data collection procedure
The questionnaire eliciting biographical data and pre-test and post-test
quantitative and qualitative information on breath, stress and workshop
evaluation was handed out to all participants. During pre-testing participants
recorded their current stress levels. In the experimental group, before and after
the breathing exercises, participants recorded their number of breaths per minute
and current level of stress along a simple 11 point scale where 0 was equivalent
to no stress and 10 was equivalent to maximum stress. Owing to overcrowding
and the unavailability of a suitably large venue, the breath workshop was limited
to very basic instruction with regard to breathing exercises as time honored
method of meditation in various healing traditions, and as means of stress and
arousal control and the above-mentioned basic breath based psychological skills
training widely used in health and sports contexts. Experiential practice focused
on breath control for arousal and stress levels, visualization and imagery
techniques, arousal experience through making in-breath longer than out-breath
and relaxation experience of making out-breath longer than in-breath. This latter
technique was practised for ten minutes following which participants were post-
tested. They recorded their number of breaths per minutes, level of stress and
quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the workshop.
Ideally breath workshops are conducted in the morning, with a small sample of
participants who are able to explore their experiences in some depth over an
extended period of time. For example, in order to experience the effects of
relaxed diaphragmatic breathing with longer out-breaths, it is ideal that
A report on the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress management 521
participants have a breath rate of about six or less per minute (Edwards, 2008;
2009; Edwards & Edwards, 2007). Although this breath workshop violated most
conventions, was very limited in length, was conducted in the late afternoon, in
an overcrowded venue with limited seating facilities and lasted just over an hour,
significant and meaningful findings were still obtained. It was therefore decided
to communicate these in the form of a brief evaluative report.
Data analysis
Quantitative data were analyzed with ANOVA for repeated measures and t tests
from the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), Qualitative data
readily lent themself to content analysis (Bryman & Cramer, 2008; Terblanche,
Durheim, & Painter, 2006).
Results and Discussion
Quantitative findings
Students t tests run on the data indicated that the experimental group had
decreased significantly in breath and stress, whereas this was not the case with
the control group: Experimental group breath (t = 9.4, p < .001), Experimental
group stress (t = 6.6, p < .001), Control group breath (t = 0.6, p = 0.53), Control
group stress (t = 0.0, p = 0.1). ANOVA with repeated measures for between
group factors and age and gender as covariates indicated significant differences
between the groups for stress (F = 7.8, p = .007) and no significant effects for
either age or gender.
Table 1: Means and standard deviations for experimental (N= 57) and control (N= 14) groups
Group
Age
Gender
Breath 1
Breath2
Stress1
Stress2
Evaluation
Experiment
23.6
(6.7)
20 F
37M
16.6
(5.2)
10.9
(4.9)
3.4 (2.1)
2.0 (6.7)
6.3
Control
21.7
(2.2)
3 F 11
M
15.1
(3.6)
15.1
(3.6)
4.4 (1.7)
4.4 (2.1)
5.3
F = Female; M = Male
The evaluation column indicated a score of 6.3 for the experimental group and
5.3 for the control group. This was based on an effectiveness rating given by the
students where 0 is totally ineffective and 10 maximally effective. Both scores
were low in comparison with previous workshop ratings, which are usually
around 8 for similar presentations. Furthermore, although the experimental group
mean was based on all experimental students‟ responses, the control group data
reflect a mean score of only seven of the 14 participants who actually evaluated
522 Edwards and Beale
the particular lecture from which control group data were gathered. However,
these data were valuable as an indication of students‟ evaluation of the
effectiveness of the workshop, which the authors consider accurate and
appropriate, in view of its presentation being compromised by an overcrowded
lecture room, limited seating facilities and consequent time limitations, all of
which are indicated in the following qualitative evaluations.
Qualitative findings
In addition to the quantitative rating, participants were requested to provide a
very brief qualitative evaluation of the workshop. With various exceptions and
indications as to the limitations of the workshop, which reduced its effectiveness,
content analysis of participants‟ qualitative evaluations provided consistent
evidence that they generally found the breath workshop to be effective, relaxing,
calming, good, helpful, insightful, informative and interesting. The following
evaluations represent individual participant ratings below and above the mean of
6.3 respectively. Quantitative evaluation scores appear in brackets after the
qualitative evaluation.
Examples of evaluations below the mean
It didn‟t do much for me. Nothing much changed. It was carried out well (0).
Breathing techniques do not fascinate me (1). I did not find it useful (1). It was
nice to have a few moments of calm but I found it hard to concentrate and stay
focused for that amount of time. I couldn‟t “feel” a heartbeat without a pulse.
Also I have a very slow heart rate, so breathing out for 10 beats was impossible
(2). There was lots of philosophical experience and techniques used in religious
and psychological worlds, but in all a useful way of relaxing if given time to
practice (3). I feel that this workshop has relaxed me to a stage where I nearly
dosed off, but overall it was good (3). The workshop was calming and showed
how breathing calmly can relieve stress, but I don‟t feel it would work for me
(4). It made me feel even more relaxed than when I came into the room. It also
made me realize you can either leave breath alone or use it, which I knew before
but it hadn‟t clicked (4). I found it hard to concentrate for long. My thoughts
drifted from the task when we were left to breath. I could not hold a happy image
for long (4). It had little value for me, poor organization, overcrowded room, too
much information on beliefs, too broad, needs to include more applications (4). It
was very effective and it could help me in life to know how I could control my
breathing (4). It was tiring (4). It was OK (4). It was good. Breathing in and
breathing out for different lengths of time made me realize the difference
between stress and relaxation (4). There were various techniques of controlled
breathing. It was interesting (4). It was enlightening but too long (4). It was
good to know about the effects of breath control (5). I learnt a few new things. I
had a bit of trouble understanding breathing techniques. It was relaxing (5). A
A report on the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress management 523
good idea, but should have been organized better in terms of space, and would
then have been more effective (5). It has increased my knowledge a bit. It was
clear (5). It was OK, but there was not enough room to accommodate all
therefore effectiveness was less than it could be (5). It was very enjoyable (5). It
was good. It was very helpful (5). It was very relaxing (6). It was pretty good as
it showed the different ways breathing can help one (6). The workshop may have
been better if everyone had sat in a big circle facing inwards with the speaker in
the middle (6). An effective method of breathing techniques, but a different
location and fewer distractions would have made it more effective (6).
Examples of evaluations above the mean
The workshop was valuable; however, it could have been more valuable if done
in a different environment (7). I thought it was very interesting (7). It was quite
effective (7). The mantra and the relaxation were interesting. I enjoyed the
lecturer‟s tone of voice (7). It was useful to look at breathing in a different light
and to gain a different understanding of different cultures beliefs (7). Relaxation
techniques are very effective (7). There were not enough seats, but otherwise
good (7). It was very relaxing. I almost fell asleep (8). It was enlightening (8). It
was useful in raising consciousness and greater awareness; a simple and effective
technique (8). Very effective techniques, but could be more useful if done one-
on-one (8). It was calming, relaxing and educational (8). I have learnt that by
consciously controlling my breathing pattern I can relax into a state of sub-
consciousness. I would definitely use the exercises personally and with family
and friends to manage stress (8). The workshop was very good, but with so many
people in the room, it was hard for me to tune into my heart effectively. The
breathing techniques made me feel much more relaxed (8). The workshop was
interesting. I think that breathing still will not help in performance, but it has a
good calming effect (8). It was calming (8). It worked very well, took a little
while to get going, but was very interesting and effective (8). It was very
effective (8). The workshop allowed me to think about my breathing as I was
using my whole body to breathe, rather than just breathing passively (8). It made
me understand breathing in more depth: very useful to use in a sporting situation
(8). It was very informative and stress relieving (9). It was interesting and
informative. I would have loved peaceful music and the speaker to use a
microphone. However aside from that, it was a very informative workshop (9).
It taught me an effective technique to remove stress (9). It was worthwhile and I
learnt some things about breathing which I did not previously know (9). I found
it very helpful. The theme of the workshop was well delivered. It is surprisingly
relevant to me life (9). In a word, excellent (9). I feel that the workshop has
allowed me to understand the true meaning behind breathing, allowing one to
regulate mood (9). It gave me a good idea of how important breath control is in
dealing with stress (9). I think it was very effective as it gave great advice on
524 Edwards and Beale
relaxation techniques that can be used in many situations (10). It was very
informative and interesting, gave me a stress relieving technique, but there was
not enough space in the room to feel the true effect (10). I think this workshop
worked very well in making me more aware of how breathing affects anxiety
levels (10). I learnt the effectiveness of a variety of breathing styles (10).
It should also be mentioned that although various breathing techniques were
covered in the workshop, these were necessarily very superficial in view of such
limitations as space and overcrowding as so clearly indicated in the participants
qualitative evaluations. As only ten minutes were specifically allocated to
relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing with focus on longer out-breaths, before post-
testing, it is remarkable that such statistically significant decreases in stress were
recorded both within the experimental group and as compared with the control
group. When supported by quantitative and qualitative evaluations attesting to
the general effectiveness of the workshop, despite its limitations in terms of time,
venue, lowered breath rate and depth of practice, the findings provide
considerable evidence in support of the research hypothesis with regard to the
effectiveness of breathing exercises in managing stress and as an experiential
introduction to further instruction in breath-based psychological skills training as
for example indicated in the above-mentioned section on breathing exercises.
Conclusion
It is concluded that the brief stress management workshop was significantly
effective in decreasing perceived stress levels change in a group of United
Kingdom university sport psychology students both within an experimental
group and as compared to convenience sample control group. Despite the various
limitations of this particular workshop, students‟ quantitative and qualitative
feedback provided further supportive evidence for the effectiveness of breathing
exercises in stress management and as an initial experiential workshop to
introduce breath-based sport psychological techniques.
References
Berger, B.G. (2001). “Feeling good:” mood alteration and meaning in exercise. In A.
Papaionnou, M. Goudas & Y. Theodorakis (Eds.), In the dawn of the new millennium.Greece:
Proceedings of the 10th World Congress of Sport Psychology, 2, 13-15.
Brown, J.S.L., Cochrane, R. & Cardone, D. (1999). Large-scale health promotion stress
workshops: promotion, programme content and client response. Journal of Mental Health, 8,
391-402.
Bryman, A., & Cramer, D. (2008). Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS 14, 15 & 16: A guide
for Social Scientists. Hove: Psychology Press.
Edwards, S.D. (2008). Breath psychology: Fundamentals and applications. Psychology and
Developing Societies, 20(2), 131-164.
A report on the evaluation of a breath workshop for stress management 525
Edwards, S.D. (2009). The description and evaluation of an African breath psychotherapeutic
workshop. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 19(2), 253-260.
Edwards, S.D. & Edwards, D.J. (2007). The description and evaluation of a breath-based
psychological skills training programme for health and sport. African Journal for Physical,
Health Education, Recreation and Dance, 13(4), 380-399.
Frankl, V.E. (1959). Man‟s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. New York:
Pocket Books.
Hergenhahn, B.R. (2001). An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Hewitt, J. (1977). The Complete Yoga Book. New York: Schocken Books.
Holmes, T.H. & Rahe, R.H. (1967). The social readjustment scale. Journal of Psychosomatic
Research, 11, 213.
Ivey, A.E., D‟ Andrea, M., Ivey, M.B. & Simek-Morgan, L. (2002). Theories of Counselling and
Psychotherapy: A Multicultural Perspective. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Jacobson, E. (1929). Progressive Relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
(translated by C. Smith).
Reid, D. (1998). Chi-Gung. Harnessing the Power of the Universe. London: Simon and
Schuster.
Selye, H. (1976). The Stress of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Terblanche, M., Durheim, K. & Painter, D. (2006). Research in Practice; Applied Methods for
the Social Sciences. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.
Western, D. (1999). Psychology: Mind, Brain and Culture. New York: John Wiley.
... The workshops were developed from various breath psychological and therapeutic investigations (Edwards, 2008(Edwards, , 2009(Edwards, , 2011Edwards & Beale, 2011;Edwards & Edwards, 2008;Edwards & Sherwood, 2008). Breath consciousness paths may be chosen for spiritual, health, creative, psychological, combined or other reasons. ...
... Over five thousand years ago, the stems of these roots were flourishing in spiritual, wisdom and healing traditions in Africa, India, China and other parts of the known world (Edwards, 2008;Iyengar, 2005;Mutwa, 2003;Reid, 1998;Wilber, 2000). The present investigation specifically supports and extends earlier research on the effects of breath workshops on improving psychological skills, decreasing stress and transforming spirituality (Edwards, 2009(Edwards, , 2011Edwards & Beale, 2011;Edwards & Edwards, 2008). For example, the above descriptions of the second year student attests to learning "wonderful techniques of helping others," the doctoral student speaks of becoming 'totally relaxed and stress free" and the clinical psychology intern speaks of all people having "God-consciousness." ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the present investigation was to evaluate the effect of breath consciousness workshops on perceptions of spirituality and health. An integral psychological approach using quantitative and qualitative methods in a pre-and post-test, quasi experimental and control group design was used to assess changes in participants' spirituality and health perceptions. Spirituality was quantitatively assessed on a standardized spirituality scale and health perceptions on a simple ten point scale ranging from severe illness to perfect health. Data collected from 40 participants in four experimental workshops were compared with data from a control group of 37 persons. Significant changes were observed in breath rate and spirituality perceptions. Although not quite reaching quantitative significant levels, qualitatively improved health was reported. The results are discussed in relation to previous and future research with regard to the influence of breath consciousness on perceptions of spirituality, health, psychological skills, stress and related phenomena.
... a discovery tool for early screening, diagnostics, disease monitoring and drug metabolism in a wide range of contexts. These include viral (23,24) and bacterial infectious diseases (25), metabolic conditions such as diabetes (26), breast cancer (27,28), lung cancer (29,30), head-neck cancer (31,32) and neurological and psychiatric disorders (33)(34)(35), Asthma (36), physical and mental stress (37,38). Despite the advanced mass spectrometry devices, BGA is still in its infancy and the methodology still lacks standardization. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders with multifactorial etiologies. Metabolomics has recently emerged as a particularly potential quantitative tool that provides a multi-parametric signature specific to several mechanisms underlying the heterogeneous pathophysiology of MDD. The main purpose of the present study was to investigate possibilities and limitations of breath-based metabolomics, breathomics patterns to discriminate MDD patients from healthy controls (HCs) and identify the altered metabolic pathways in MDD. Methods Breath samples were collected in Tedlar bags at awakening, 30 and 60 min after awakening from 26 patients with MDD and 25 HCs. The non-targeted breathomics analysis was carried out by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry. The univariate analysis was first performed by T-test to rank potential biomarkers. The metabolomic pathway analysis and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) were performed to group the significant metabolites involved in the same metabolic pathways or networks. Moreover, a support vector machine (SVM) predictive model was built to identify the potential metabolites in the altered pathways and clusters. The accuracy of the SVM model was evaluated by receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis. Results A total of 23 differential exhaled breath metabolites were significantly altered in patients with MDD compared with HCs and mapped in five significant metabolic pathways including aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis ( p = 0.0055), branched chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis ( p = 0.0060), glycolysis and gluconeogenesis ( p = 0.0067), nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism ( p = 0.0213) and pyruvate metabolism ( p = 0.0440). Moreover, the SVM predictive model showed that butylamine ( p = 0.0005, p FDR =0.0006), 3-methylpyridine ( p = 0.0002, p FDR = 0.0012), endogenous aliphatic ethanol isotope ( p = 0.0073, p FDR = 0.0174), valeric acid ( p = 0.005, p FDR = 0.0162) and isoprene ( p = 0.038, p FDR = 0.045) were potential metabolites within identified clusters with HCA and altered pathways, and discriminated between patients with MDD and non-depressed ones with high sensitivity (0.88), specificity (0.96) and area under curve of ROC (0.96). Conclusion According to the results of this study, the non-targeted breathomics analysis with high-throughput sensitive analytical technologies coupled to advanced computational tools approaches offer completely new insights into peripheral biochemical changes in MDD.
... Breath control has become established practice in sport psychology, particularly in relation to arousal control, anxiety reduction, relaxation and various recent cognitive behavioural techniques such as mindfulness in Western countries, many of which have older African and Asian roots (Edwards & Beale, 2011;Weinberg & Gould, 1999). In Eastern and African sport psychological contexts there tends to be more holistic emphasis on all implications of breath-control; spiritual, social, physical, emotional, mental, ethical, occupational and environmental. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this retrospective, quantitative study was to investigate relationships between breath ratios, spirituality perceptions and health perceptions, with special reference to breath ratios that best predict optimal health and spirituality. Significant negative correlations were found between breath ratios and spirituality perceptions, but not health perceptions. There were some indications that breath ratios of about five to seven breaths per minute were generally associated with improved spirituality perceptions. This association was stronger for spirituality perceptions than health perceptions, but in both cases, relationships appeared too complex to be reduced quantitatively, indicating the need for, and value of, more integrated, holistic and dynamic approaches in health, wellness, and sport and exercise psychology.
... Breath control has become established practice in clinical and sport psychology, particularly in relation to arousal control, anxiety reduction, relaxation and various recent cognitive behavioural techniques such as mindfulness in Western countries, many of which have older African and Asian roots (Edwards & Beale, 2011;Weinberg & Gould, 1999). In Eastern and African psychological contexts there tends to be more holistic emphasis on all implications of breath-control; spiritual, social, physical, emotional, mental, ethical, occupational and environmental. ...
Article
Full-text available
This integral heuristic phenomenological investigation records participants' experiences of a single session of breath meditation with special reference to psychotherapy and sport psychology. There were 8 participants, 4 men and 4 women, with mean age of 45 years and age range from 31 to 62 years. Various breathing patterns and related consciousness transformations were revealed in all experiential breath meditation descriptions and their associated neurophysiologic signatures, which indicated predominantly alpha wave and sensory motor region activity. Psychotherapeutic and sport psychological findings indicated that breath work facilitates many healing ingredients, with many athletes viewing breathing exercises as the most useful tool learned. Integrated findings strongly endorse the value of breath work. Further research and practice in the area is recommended.
... In Patanjali"s yoga sutras, breathing exercises (pranayama) constitute the fourth limb of yoga, which provides a base for advanced meditation practices, such as withdrawal of external sense awareness (pratyahara), control of attention and intention (dharana), sustained concentration and witnessing awareness (dhyana), and absorption into unity consciousness (samadhi) (Iyengar, 2001(Iyengar, , 2005Chopra & Simon, 2004;Horan, 2009). Breath control has become established practice in health and sport psychology, particularly in relation to arousal control, anxiety reduction and, in Western countries, cognitive behavioural techniques, such as mindfulness, many of which have older African and Asian roots (Edwards & Edwards, 2007;Edwards & Sherwood, 2008;Marks, 2008;De Perillio et al., 2011;Edwards & Beale, 2011;Weinberg & Gould, 2011). Such practice has been supported by modern scientific evidence that a decreased breath ratio of five to seven breaths per minute is associated with enhanced autonomic nervous system balance and heart-brain concordance (Yasuma & Hayano, 2004;Cysarz & Bussing, 2005;Breslin & Lewis 2008;Stanley, 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to record experiences of three meditation conditions: Ratio Breathing, Transcendental Meditation and Zazen, with special reference to sport, health, neuro-physiology and sense of coherence. The participants (N=9), seven males and two females were all British, actively competing across a range of individual and team sports, with no experience of using meditation techniques or practices in their sporting or daily lives. Their mean age was 31.56 years with an age range of 22 to 44 years. The study employed a within-subjects, repeated measures design, with each participant practising each meditation condition in a randomly counterbalanced order. Integrative findings support the value of all three meditation conditions for health and to a lesser extent for sport, especially with regard to their effect on focus. All three meditation conditions were associated with a decrease in respiration. The differential effect of the meditations was apparent. Participants valued Ratio breathing for its effect on concentration, Transcendental Meditation for its depth of meditation and Zazen for its effect on self and removal of external distractions. These qualitative findings were associated with differentially significant quantitative effects on lowered respiration rate in the Ratio Breathing group, increased physical relaxation and alpha activity in the Transcendental Meditation group, and increases in both alpha and theta activity in the Zazen group.
Chapter
ESports, also known as competitive video gaming, has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Several studies have been conducted that examined the potential cognitive benefits of playing video games, but few have examined the psychosocial factors needed to perform at the highest level of competitive video gaming. In this study, the researchers aimed to identify specific mental obstacles players face and any mental techniques gamers already utilize by conducting a qualitative content analysis. Interviews with five high-level competitive League of Legend players were conducted to shed light on their experiences. The interviews resulted in two high order themes. Those high order themes were the following: techniques used to achieve optimal performance and obstacles encountered by competitive gamers. The data collected can be used by a wide population in both the performance psychology field and the eSports realm, more specifically, future mental skills consultants working with League of Legends players, gamers themselves, and academics who wish to serve, improve, or study those involved in an emerging performance domain.
Article
ESports, also known as competitive video gaming, has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Several studies have been conducted that examined the potential cognitive benefits of playing video games, but few have examined the psychosocial factors needed to perform at the highest level of competitive video gaming. In this study, the researchers aimed to identify specific mental obstacles players face and any mental techniques gamers already utilize by conducting a qualitative content analysis. Interviews with five high-level competitive League of Legend players were conducted to shed light on their experiences. The interviews resulted in two high order themes. Those high order themes were the following: techniques used to achieve optimal performance and obstacles encountered by competitive gamers. The data collected can be used by a wide population in both the performance psychology field and the eSports realm, more specifically, future mental skills consultants working with League of Legends players, gamers themselves, and academics who wish to serve, improve, or study those involved in an emerging performance domain.
Article
Full-text available
This article introduces, describes and evaluates a phenomenological, breath based, psychological skills training programme for health and sport. The programme as such is grounded on a holistic conception of psychology and the recognition of breath as an essential vital function and learnable skill from which all other forms of psychological skills can develop through practise. Programme evaluation with a group of young provincial rugby players revealed its effectiveness in improving psychological skills, health and sport as assessed on a standardized measure of psychological skills and as experienced by players. Implications for further research and implementation of the programme are discussed with special reference to South Africa.
Article
Full-text available
As the study and use of the breath, breath psychology is an ancient applied science. While it is more obvious and flourishes in an holistic way in economically less developed countries of the world, it remains a foundation for modern forms of psychology, however academic and professional these have become, in the so-called first world countries. The aim of this article is to reintroduce this original psychology from a pragmatic, fundamental and applied perspective. Breath psychology fundamentals, which have been extolled for millennia in the form of various wisdom and spiritual traditions, are explicated in relation to the themes of consciousness, embodiment, ecology, spirituality and healing. Breath psychology applications are discussed with reference to health, sport and skills training. It is concluded that general breathing exercises constitute an immediate form of energy management, illness prevention and the basis for cost-effective public health promotion in both economically developed and developing countries. In an ecological and cosmic context, with threats such as pollution, overpopulation and global warming, optimal use of the breath becomes a planetary imperative.
Article
Full-text available
An African breath psychotherapeutic workshop is described and evaluated with a small group of participants (students =9, males = 3, females =6, age range =24 to 59 years, mean age 40.3 years) all of whom were professionally registered psychologists. There were 3 Xhosa, 2 Zulu, 1 Tswana, 2 English and 1 Afrikaans home language speakers. The workshop, which was based on accessing original Spirit through ancestral and personal breath-based spirituality, was called Shiso, an acronym for Spirit, Heart, Image, Soul and Oneness. Findings indicated significant improvement in self-perceived ratings of spirituality on a standardized scale by all participants. Individual student descriptions and focus group discussion indicated some awareness of original Spirit as revealed through subtle breathing experiences invoking the universal and personal ancestral presence of the participants. The experience was meaningfully described in such terms as relaxation, connection, openness, harmony, integration, awareness, amazement, healing and transcendence.
Article
Full-text available
[This book] is designed as a nontechnical guide, ignoring the traditional formulaic methods and introducing students to the most widely used computer package for analysing quantitative data. This is the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), whose most recently released versions (for both mainframe computers and IBM-compatible personal computers) are here employed. The authors have assumed no previous familiarity with either statistics or computing, and take the reader step-by-step through each of the techniques for which SPSS can be used. Specific techniques covered include: correlation; simple and multiple regression; multivariate analysis of variance and covariance [and] factor analysis. Designed specifically for social scientists, the book will be essential reading for psychology, sociology, social policy and history students following courses in statistics, data analysis or research methods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)