Charlene's Top 3 Rules for Breathing Better and Feeling Relaxed NOW!
Breathing... we all do it.
We all understand that it is a necessary part of life, in fact, the very indication of thriving life itself! Yet, how many times have you thought about your breath today?
What about right now... how are you breathing? How are you feeling?
Did you know that both factors powerfully influence each other? And whether that be in a positive or negative direction is all up to you.
I have chosen to study the relationship between the breath and our nervous systems in detail for many reasons. First, as a Yoga Teacher we learn Pranayama, which refer to the breathing rituals associated with the yoga practice. Secondly, I tend to experience what we call the Human condition. Ups and downs, anxiety and depression, feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness, bliss and absolute distress... I mean, the list goes on.
And where I once thought my release came from the fancy yoga poses I was learning, I began to dig deeper. I began to search for the science behind all of my practices, my rituals, my way of life.
What I have found has been nothing short of amazing. I have read books, watched a gazillion videos and even flew out to breathe with the amazing Ice Man (Wim Hof) himself! I will save much of the boring science details of it all and give you 3 practical rules for breathing that I use everyday which has benefited me not only physically in my training regimen, but mentally giving me clarity and sense of peace :)
Top 3 Rules for breathing effectively
Start Breathing from the BELLY!!
The Solar plexus is your confidence center! Your diaphragm is the muscle of your breath. As with any muscle, if it is not trained and used, it will become weak and atrophy. Your Para-sympathetic nervous system is triggered in this area of the body. The moment you take a deep controlled belly breath your stress response is interrupted and your brain gets the signal to calm down the body.
Get into the habit of Nose Breathing (especially during exercise!)
Nose breathing: An integral part of an animals survival and hunting techniques. Whenever an animal breathes through the mouth it is an indication that they are either exhausted or sick. Neither of these signals sent to your brain will be effective in longevity of health or consistency in keeping an exercise regimen.
By breathing through the nose we get the benefits of Nitric Oxide. This chemical Influences all major organs in the body and helps to keep us free from diseases like cancer and promote a longer life. It plays an important role in vasoregulation (opening and closing of the blood vessels) Homeostasis and neurotransmission (messaging system of the brain). With open airways means more efficient delivery of oxygen to and from the lungs and muscles.
Practice Resistance Breathing to sooth anxiety and control stress
This is one of the first Pranayama techniques taught in a yoga practice; Ijayu breath. The constriction in the back of the throat generates a vibration in the nervous system that feels soothing.
This soothing vibration can also be felt while humming, singing or chanting. The American Journal of Respiratory and critical Care Medicine published an article indication that resistance breathing or humming causes a dramatic increase in sinus ventilation and nitric oxide release.
These tips have transformed my energy levels and my life, and I am just touching the tip of the iceberg. Ready to live better and be healthier? No need to start tomorrow...start now ;)
Sources: The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick Mckeown The Healing Power of the Breath by Richard P. Brown, MD; and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD