The last few days I’ve been doing a really useful exercise.
It’s one that has helped me, and I believe it could be very powerful for many guitarists.
Particularly those of you who are struggling with tension.
As mentioned yesterday, I’ve had a tough relationship breakup (thanks for all the wonderful words of support – it means a lot).
Anyway, I don’t want to harp on about that!
It’s time to get back to feeling great and this little breathing exercise has helped.
Breathing properly is one of the foundations of playing guitar.
Yes, that might sound strange in some ways.
I mean, we all just want our fingers to move to the correct place at the correct time and play some music!
So how does breathing help?
Well, if you’re not breathing properly, you will tense up.
…And tension is the enemy of progress on guitar.
It’s incredibly hard for your fingers to move how you want them to if you’re tense.
And if you’re a naturally tense person, that will likely transfer to the guitar in some way.
Any tension makes chord changes, scales, and fluid, accurate picking (and just about everything else) harder.
There are other folks though who are generally relaxed but when the guitar is in their hands, they just tense up automatically (often due to poor technique in the early days, which leads to bad habits usually).
So, if you feel tense with the guitar in hand, it’s definitely worth either doing some breathing exercises before or at the mid-way point of your practice.
That will help you relax the fingers, hands, arms, and all your muscles.
This will help you feel good, concentrate better, and not get frustrated when things aren’t quite working out.
Meaning you are more likely to play with accuracy, grace, and elegance.
So here is something that has helped me and may help you.
It’s something a friend told me about.
It’s called the Wim Hof method.
I’m not going to go into detail here, as I probably can’t do it full justice in an email.
…But the idea behind the Wim Hof method is that you take about 30 short but deep breaths and once your body is flooded with oxygen…
You breathe out, hold your breath for a while and relax.
Then you repeat this a few times.
I’ve done various breathing exercises over the years, and all have helped.
This one is wonderful and makes me very relaxed and feel super peaceful.
(I also think it’s good to do this sort of thing while sitting with your guitar too, as that can help break the habit of being tense when you play).
Anyway, I hope that has given you food for thought.
Breathing is key and it might be worth it for you too, taking a look at the Wim Hof way of breathing.
Either way, do your utmost to be relaxed when you play guitar!
Thanks for all the kind words from many of you over the last few days.
The future is bright and exciting.
Not just in music and guitar playing, but in life too.
So, get breathing, get relaxed, and get making progress.
Wishing you a wonderful day of practice!
P.S. If you want more help with the actual playing of the guitar, then check this out.
For anyone who gets it in the next 24 hours, I will donate all the proceeds to the Mental Health Foundation.
Although the past few weeks have been a challenge, I’m incredibly lucky that I have a happy and healthy life. I know not everyone else has this. Therefore, this is my way of giving a little bit back to the world and hoping to help others who are really struggling.
P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.