Wod and Ond: Using Breath Work

Wod is the power of fury and inspiration. It is the fuel source that all somaferans use. It is created by many things, but the most important mover of wod is ond, the breath. This is analogous to many other systems of internal martial art, in which such terms as “chi” refer to both the breath and to spiritual power. One of the most important things that a berserker can learn is how to raise and direct the wod with the breath. This technique is also invaluable to many other somaferans, because wod control can be used to aid healing and even help psychological problems.

The most basic form of wod breathing is the “breath of surprise”. This is the kind of breath you take when you are deeply surprised: a deep breath, with a great expansion of the lungs, all in an instant. When you do this, your wod spikes sharply. If you do something immediately after taking such a breath, it will be powered by that elevated wod. If you do this before making an attack, the attack will be incredibly powerful. If you do this before doing something taking precision, your aim and coordination will be superior. If you do this before uttering a meditative mantra, the result will be pure and strong.

There are other forms of breathing too, of course. The “big exhale” is kind of the inverse of the breath of surprise. It involves forcefully yet steadily exhaling most of the air in your lung. You use this one to steady your mind, calm your jitters, and collect your scattered thoughts. One good use for it is to use it while striking, shooting, or doing anything else that requires precision, because it will steady your mind and keep it focused. Another good use for it is to get rid of unwanted thoughts and worries. When these thoughts seize your mind, do not react to tem. Just give a big exhale, and let them wind down naturally. This latter use works especially well with an exceptionally long exhale.

Hyperventilation will raise the wod too, although not by spiking it. It will instead build it a little more slowly, but it will also last a little longer. Breathing more or less deeply, and more or less rapidly, will change how quickly you accumulate it.

Long, shallow breathing keeps your wod low. This is ideal for when you really need to center yourself. If you do it well, it may sharpen your senses a little.

If you are a martial artist, understanding breath control has another use as well. Observing your opponent’s breathing allows you to make attacks that have a much greater than usual chance of working, if you are a close observer with fast reactions. You see, exhalation runs the mind down a bit, momentarily. After your opponent has exhaled, there will be a moment, but only a moment, when his attention is scattered, his reflexes slow, and his mind dulled. Strike, or otherwise move, during this moment and there is a good chance that he won’t see it coming.


enhancing healing

As many berserkers in training soon discover, the berserker path necessitates a lot of healing. The same kind of enhancement that works for strength will work for healing. Just elevating will speed up the healing process, as long as you keep yourself well fed.

But we can do better than that.

The key is gestaltic visualization. Visualize the location of the injury. Concentrate on the feel of the injury. Try to picture the parts of your body that actually do the healing. Picture your body as a whole, coursing with power. Picture your elevated self. Picture yourself free of injury. Visualize every detail of the injured parts of your body from as many perspectives as possible. Visualize healing runes. Visualize them on your injury. Visualize yourself inhaling healing energy from the world around you, and directing it to the wound.

Keep switching from one image to another. Concentrate powerfully on each, but linger on none.

You are aiming to build up a powerful, complex, detailed image of your injury and your healing, one far more complex than you can manage just by concentrating on one thing. This will recruit and focus FAR more of your mind into the healing effort, and the speed with which you heal should improve.

Zero-Wod Elevation

Although I try to provide plenty of information here for pups and those outside this practice, this is also a place for the discussion of more advanced somaferan topics, and that is what I have to discuss today.

As some who were part of the Pack before it disbanded are aware, my primary research goal for the past several years has been to develop a zero-wod elevation technique. As those who have used somafera techniques to actually do things with are aware, it burns a LOT of energy. Quickly. Just going berserk can take the bulk of your reserves, leaving you little to actually accomplish your goals. So it makes sense to try to reduce the amount of wod that is needed to go berserk, or enter any other kind of somafera state.

Many years ago, some of the older members of the Pack noticed that besides the basic overload technique, elevation could be accomplished by practicing entering the state over and over again, and learning it to the level at which it become instinctual. The more instinctual and habitual it is, the easier it is to enter a somafera state. In other words, there seemed to be two paths to elevation. The easiest was overwhelming emotion. The other one was precision of thought.

So we hypothesized that there should be a way to elevate without using any wod at all. A way of thinking that could lead the mind into the desired state without effort. So I made it my goal to find such a thing, if it exists.

I have not yet succeeded. But I have learned a couple of important things. The first is that elevation can be accomplished via storytelling. Picking the right story and telling it, whether to yourself or another, can guide your mind along the right paths and lead you to elevation with a lot less wod than would normally be required.

The second thing is much more useful. I suspect that the key to zero wod elevation lies in being different selves simultaneously. Us somaferans are multiples of some sort naturally. Shamanic practitioners can become many different selves as well, through shamanic technique. When you can become multiple selves at once, without straining to maintain the state, the interactions between them seem to lead to gangr flashes that require no effort or setup at all.

Some of you know one of the techniques for entering the gangr reliably: learning to hit a dagaz moment, and stringing them together until they merge into a gangr. I think the key to true zero wod elevation lies in this being multiple selves and stringing these gangr flashes together until they merge.

To my old brothers and sisters from the Pack: I hope your studies and practices are going well too.

Practicing Huvardka

Huvardka is the state of mind in which certain lines of thought and feeling are subconsciously followed by reflex, instead of others. Specifically, it the way in which somaferans keep their minds from committing any of the many errors that can ruin a somaferan altered state. There are two components to it: experience and meditation. In a somaferan state the mind is furiously fixed on a specific focus. There is nothing of the mind for it to use to be aware of itself, and such awareness would ruin a somafera state anyway. Therefore, mistakes can only be avoided by either being in a deep, pure meditative state of unusual strength or by having sufficient practice in thinking the right things, so that your mind instinctively and reflexively thinks those things. Huvardka is a balance of meditation and training that permits this to occur.

There are three things to do in order to learn good huvardka skills. The first is practicing meditation, daily. The second is practicing, while in a calm, clear, meditative state of mind, thinking the things you want to think. Envision the circumstances in which you want this to be your reaction, such as when trying to enter a gangr, with as much detail and clarity as possible. The third is to keep track of your thoughts and words throughout each day, possibly with a journal. Make note of anything that you think that contradicts or distracts you from the desired line of thought and feeling. Learn to eliminate such toughts and words from your life. Keep doing these three things and you will get the hang of it.

Don’t Practice Your Mistakes

Let me pass along one of the most important training tips I learned during my time on the somafera forum: don’t practice your mistakes. Whatever you are training in, whether it is lifting weights, drilling kata, or going berserk, always stop just one rep short of failure.

What’s that, you say? You’ve always believed that you should push through that barrier and keep trying to crank out as many as you can?

Yeah, I used to think that way too. Then some serious fighters, who had proved their worth in the ring, pulled me aside and told me why that was stupid. You see, any physical act, including simple bursts of strength like when you lift weights, is coordinated by a lot of nerves firing in very specific patterns at very specific times. Furthermore, the mind is a very simple thing. It learns from ALL of its experiences.

So if you keep pushing yourself to break your limits, then your form starts going to hell for the last several reps. And you train your nerves to remember the firing patterns for poor form, and that really screws you up.

The thing is, these fighters told me, to stop while you are near exhaustion, but while your form is still perfect. I tried it that way. You know what? It made a BIG difference. I suggest you try the same. Sure, it is useful to try to push past your limits every once in a while, but it should be no more than once a month.

Wod / Qi

Today’s post is promoted from the comments section, because it raises a good point. The comment was

“According to the internal martial arts, they say that when you focus your attention on a bodypart, qi will go there, but the qi is followed by the blood, and blood is followed by strength. When I concentrate on a bodypart, I notice that part will get a little warmer and I feel some kind of pressure and pins and needles. Is this something that berserkers will use to elevate their wod/qi by concentrating on their whole body?”

That is a very good exercise, yes. Concentrate on the whole body, or concentrate this on your hara, in the middle of your body a couple inches below your navel, and once you build it up there, start circulating it. In time, you will learn to raise such high levels of wod that the full elevation becomes possible.

The Moment That You See It or Know It, You Have Already Lost It

Today’s post is an answer to a question asked in the Comments section. It is worth promoting to a full post because the issue raises an important point for developing berserkers. The original question is:

“Wen I try to go berserk my body in a way is tense and is tingling and my head has a sort of distinct pressure on the forehead. Could these be signs that I berserked? Also wen I meditate I feel that same pressure but it evens out and spreads throughout my head. Is this a sign that I deactivated my conscious mind and am in my subconscious? And finally im having trouble understanding wat is meant by fusing my subconscious subconscious content with that of my conscious. Can u tell me how this is supposed to work?”

The tingling and forehead pressure are signs of elevated wod. It is a concept not dissimilar to the idea of raising chi. It can lead to a full berserkergang, but it is not itself the sign of one.

The reason this issue is important is that you are kind of caught in a Catch-22 situation at this stage of the path. On the one hand, you need to study the path to full elevation, learn how it works, learn good and bad signs, and gain insight. In other words, you have the right instinct here, up to a point. You have to act like a scientist, observe what you are doing and what the results are, so you can keep refining your technique.

The problem is that when it comes to the gangr, the moment that you see it or know it, you have already lost it! I cannot stress this point enough. To be aware of something is to think with discriminating thought. It is to say “it is this, and not that.” Guess what? That is dualistic thinking. To be aware of a thought like that your mind must be divided into different compartments. That is not unified. That is not elevation. That is not the gangr. So if you can say to yourself “Ah, I am berserk now,” then no, you are not.

So, those things you have to learn and pay attention to? Actually paying attention to them will guarantee that you cannot elevate.

Fun, huh?

The thing is, you must learn and understand intellectually, and then you must forget all about it.

Remember this: think only of the plowing, and never of the harvest.

Concentrate on doing the rituals, the right steps, and pay no mind to whether or not you succeed.

I recommend a period of trying to elevate in different ways. Accept the fact that you will fail for a long time. In time, if you have the capacity, you will learn.

Also: meditation.

As to fusing you conscious and subconscious minds, well, this is what the unitary state is. It is like being hypnotized, dreaming, and wide awake all at the same time. Sort of.

You cannot understand it until you have experienced it.

You want a good path to achieving this unity? If you do not have extensive meditational skills, try learning to achieve dagaz moments. A dagaz moment is the split second you first perceive something. In that bare instant, your perception of it is perfect, flawless. If you can make action toward the thing you perceive and the initial perception of it one, your action will also be flawless.

I used to pick a very small target and stand far away from it with a pile of small rocks. I would pace around so that I always started in a different place, facing away from the target. Then suddenly, I would turn around and see the target. In the moment I saw, I threw the rock. If I saw then threw, I missed. If seeing and throwing were the same thing, I often hit it.

You see, the dagaz moment technique is a way of tricking your brain to be in a unitary state with regards to the target for just a moment. Do this often enough, and you may learn how to slide from one dagaz moment to the next without effort. Then, you may end up in a unified state of consciousness.

This is but one technique, of course. There are many ways to this goal.