Breathing Exercise Variables Versus Fundamentals
Breath is life is a popular saying from time immemorial. They keys are why, which, how, when is breath life.
The way you breathe — fast or slow, shallow or deep — sends messages to your body that affect your mood, stress level, blood pressure, immune function and more. Your breathing “house” must be built on a “rock”. I often use words like easy, effortless, low and slow, nose, grounded, rooted, foundational and fundamental.
Unless you are being chased by a hungry lion, or are near the finish line in a race, nose breathing is best, waking, sleeping, walking, jogging. Mouth breathing decreases tissue oxygenation, elevates your heart rate and blood pressure, invites snoring, bypasses natural nitric oxide production and vasodilation, invites excess sinus mucous buildup, causes dry mouth, alters your bite, makes you look dull or stupid and has many other adverse health effects.
Most people chronically over breathe. Shallow breathers over-breathe, under-breathe and breath hold, depending on the situation. Breathing slower but still naturally balanced and deeper, grounded, rooted and slow (I recommend 6-7 breaths a minute) is a sign of better health. Conversely, the more you breathe out of balance (in your chest, ungrounded, unrooted), the more likely you are to experience significant health problems. Chest breathing puts your nervous system in mild to severe constant over-stimulation.
Breathing supplies your body with oxygen, removes excess carbon dioxide (CO2) and other toxins. But the way you breathe — whether fast or slow, shallow or deep - forced or effortless- also sends messages to your body that affect your mood, stress level, blood pressure, immune system, organ function and more.
Breathing is both a voluntary and involuntary. While your body breathes automatically, you also have the ability to consciously control your breathing — the speed, depth, ease and where you breathe from your body such as through your mouth or your nose, chest or lower abdomen, front sides and back.By changing the way you breathe, you can positively influence your health in a variety of ways.
Some studies even suggest that, in addition to providing immediate relief, regular breathing exercises can make people less vulnerable to stress, by “’permanently modifying brain circuits." Our newsletter regularly features clinical studies that give tremendous insights of the proven benefits of health enhancing breathing exercises.
Below are a few popular controlled breathing techniques shown to have a potentially positive impact on health and psychological well-being. Unfortunately, none are as foundational as they should be leaving the individual with good to mediocre to poor or bad benefits, eluding the potentially profound aspects of properly developed full and grounded breathing fundamentals.Ways people teach others to breathe. However, exactly how you do that can, so to speak, make the difference between “slowing the bleeding or healing the wound”.
Rule number 1 "Always Breathe Through Your Nose". We have an entire article devoted to nose breathing.
( A ). Assessing Your CO2 Tolerance?
so called simple self-test for estimating your body's tolerance to CO2. Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko,a Russian physician, discovered that the level of CO2 in your lungs correlates to your ability to hold your breath after normal exhalation. While this exercise is perfectly safe for most, if you have any cardiac problems, high blood pressure, are pregnant, have Type 1 diabetes, panic attacks or any serious health concern, then do not hold your breath beyond the first urges to breathe. We use a similar “exercise” in our online free breathing tests as a way to estimate CO2 toleration and not something that will safely and permanently improve one’s breathing. We include a comprehensive article about Buteyko on the breathing.com site.
( B ). Using liters of air per minute as a marker for good breathing overlooks lung size and posture. Ease, depth, energy and one’s state of calm are far better markers.
( C ). Many say the more you breathe, the more likely you are to experience significant health problems.Breathing more is not necessarily bad. Athletes will attest to this. The keys are balance and foundational breathing. How is the breathing pattern stimulating the nervous system? BelisaVranich
( D ). The 4-7-8 exercise. When you do this 4-7-8 exercise or any repeated exercise often enough it will eventually restrict your breathing. Short term benefits with possible long term restrictions. You must use Sympathetic Nervous System SNS to move and hold the breath. We teach ways to relax that include strengthening the Parasympathetic Nervous System PNS without stimulating the SNS.
Scientific American lists six breathing techniques shown to relieve stress, anxiety and panic attacks, including alternate nostril breathing and abdominal breathing. The Buteyko Breathing Method is also indicated for this, as it allows you to retain and gently accumulate CO2, which calms breathing and reduces anxiety:
( E ). Take a small breath into your nose, followed by a small breath out. Short shallow breaths can be helpful for some but they does not develop breathing. Typically, the respiratory rate of humans is about 10 to 20 breaths per minute. Slowing your breathing down to a rate of 4 to 10 breaths per minute appears to offer many benefits, including effects on the respiratory, cardiovascular, cardio-respiratory and autonomic nervous systems. Subscribe to our newsletter for hundreds of these studies.
( F ). "Controlled, slow breathing appears to be an effective means of maximizing HRV [heart rate variability] and preserving autonomic function, both of which have been associated with decreased mortality in pathological states and longevity in the general population” Agreed.
( G ). Alternate nostril breathing. I included three variations of this one in our Optimal Breathing breathing kit. One of the 2 exercises borrowed from Indian Yoga that we included in our 40 techniques and exercises.
( H ). Ujjayi (psychic breath) — “Inhalation and exhalation are done through the nose at a normal pace, with partial contraction of the glottis, which produces a light snoring sound. You should be aware of the passage of breath through your throat during the practice.” I do not care for this on at all. It may well restrict one voice or invoice throat closure and apnea.
( I ). Bhramari (female honeybee humming breath) — After a full inhalation, closing the ears using your index fingers, you should exhale making a soft humming sound similar to that of a honeybee.Love it. Toscanini hummed all the time. It allows for variety, depth and tonality. Colleague Dennis Lewis likes it too. So you can use the many breathing exercises as a gateway to better breathing but make sure you are learning proper fundamentals and not parroting other's mistakes. visit www.Optimalbreathing.com