I want to bring up an important topic of breathing. Back when I was racing downhill there was one thing that I would always try to focus on during race runs, and that was controlled and deliberate breathing, which served two purposes. First and most obviously, breath kept my brain alert and my heart rate down. Second the controlled breathing allowed me to stay calm and collected through technical sections of the track. Because my focus was on breath, I had no time to think about possible outcomes or second guess line choices.
In my experience in practicing yoga, deliberate breathing is 90% of the class, and 10% putting my body into awkward yet restorative positions.
Arno Ilgner Author of The Rock Warrior’s Way emphasizes breath as a way for rock climbers to maintain composure and focus while scaling sheer rock faces.
I have been learning and practicing Dirt Jumping, with thin intent to gain more bike control and confidence on my mountain bike. One day out with some BMX friends who are way better than me at dirt jumping, a friend noticed that I was holding my breath through the whole line of jumps. He also noted that there was no reason I should be as winded as I was after only 10 or less seconds of effort. After all, I can ride a bike up a mountain for a few hours, granted there is some level of adrenaline and increase heart rate, but my friend was right.
Over the last few dirt jump outings, I have reset my intentions and started a deliberate breathing routine for myself. I have even noticed that I feel much more relaxed in the air, and is much more comfortable going off even bigger jumps with less anxiety or tension than I used to.