Do you know HOW TO BREATHE?…I’m working on it.
MY JOURNEY in to discovering “Breathwork” began about 2 years ago at a Chiropractors office in Cincinnati…since then I have read multiple books and blogs, attended breathing sessions and seminars, and practiced all types of techniques…
THE RESULTS = I have lowered my stress levels, lowered my temper and reactive emotions, earned more patience, and am able to benefit from different tactics daily to control my physical and mental health…its worth it…and its easy…in the end its just breathing!
HERE’S MY STORY…I went to a Chiropractor for mid-low back pain, hip and leg pain…his analysis was that I had weak core strength and “intra-abdominal pressure” (optimal way to stabilize your torso for movements) as a result of and causing further bad posture habits…including the all too common bad desk posture at the office. His solution was to practice abdominal breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) for 10 minutes per day…starting simple, laying down, working towards other practices.
THE REVELATION…I didn’t know how to breath…it was such a challenge to breathe with my stomach…and even more of a challenge to commit only 10 measly minutes per day in my busy corporate job clogged and societally stuffed day…I did not have enough patience and discipline to sit and do nothing but practice breathing for 10 minutes…so I stopped seeing the Chiropractor and figured I needed to start at the basics…ENTER BREATHWORK!
BEGINNING BREATHWORK…this revelation led me to listen to my first audio book on breathwork on audible – Dan Brule’s Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond…now a staple on MY BOOK LIST…which was a great overview on breathwork with a bunch of different research and techniques to explore…there was a lot of mention of meditation and yoga which led to further exploration in to both of those practices as well…as Dan Brule once said in a seminar I attended “…Breathwork is Meditation…anytime you are focusing on your breath only essentially you are meditating…”…but to me breathwork is and can functionally be so much more…and I have just scratched the surface of learning, exploring and practicing this overlooked natural tool.
- Breathing is the only human function that is both voluntary and autonomic (ie. you can decide when and how to breathe…and also you will breathe automatically if you don’t think about it)…thus if you control your breath you can in fact control your autonomic nervous system in many ways (ie. lower your heart rate, stress levels, encourage digestion, etc.)
- Controlling your parasympathetic nervous system (ie. controlling your breath) allows you to impact your sympathetic nervous system (ie. your fight or flight response)…feeling ready to fight or flee…engage breathing techniques.
- Most people are chest breathers and don’t know how to breathe diapragmatically
- It’s challenging and can be embarrassing, humiliating, and shaming to realize, admit and accept that you don’t know how to properly breathe and/or control your breath…something so simple that we have done automatically since we were born…and that’s ok.
- Like all things in life…nothing worth working for comes without work…training your mind and body is necessary
- Breath Watching – first step to overcome addiction (addicted to not breathing correctly) is to recognize the problem…spend time observing your breath throughout the day…even better take 5-10min sessions throughout the day to just breathe without trying to influence your breath.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) – equalizing and calming…hold left nostril…inhale through the right…hold right nostril…exhale through left nostril…hold right…inhale through left nostril…exhale through right and repeat 5-10 cycles
- Box Breathing – easy and steadying, heightens performance and concentration…inhale 4 counts, hold breath 4 counts, exhale 4 counts, hold out 4 counts
- Full Body Yawn – its a stretch and a deep breath that opens up parts of your head and body with interesting pops and clicks and often makes you cry…a tear that actually has a different chemical composition than tears of sadness…and it feels great…and we all know how to force a yawn (remember that boring conversation last week you wanted to cue the speaker to stop)…cue your own yawns…regularly…its not rude, its healthy!
- Sigh of Relief – technically this is taking 2x as large of inhale as your exhale..it helps us release anxiety and tension when we do it naturally…so try to do it on purpose, in real time, when you need it…do this multiple times in a row to release deeper build up.
- PRO TIP – if you can Full Body Yawn in to a Sigh of Relief in a fluid cycle for 5-10 minutes this may look weird but it can release deep tension and stress and provide health and rejuvenation…this is Dan Brule’s latest and greatest breathwork practice.
- Breath Mastery (Dan Brule) – tons of breathwork free lessons and resources
- Holotropic Breathwork (Dr. Stan Grof) – breathing technique popularized around the supression of legal LSD use as a mechanism for accessing non-ordinary states of consciousness.
- Rebirthing Technique (Leonard Orr) – cyclical breathing technique claimed to be capable of releasing deep suppressed traumatic memories
- Source Process & Breathwork (Binnie A. Dansby) – a philosophy and practice for healing the self limiting primal unconscious decisions we made based on our experience of life in the womb that lay foundations for negative patterns in life.
- Wim Hof Method (Wim Hof) – Known as “The Iceman” and famous for climbing Mt. Everest in his underwear…this technique combines three pillars of cold therapy, breathing, and commitment.
- Intra-Abdominal Pressure Breathing – see explanation above
- Yoga/Meditation Techniques to Google and Explore