A few simple breathing exercises and techniques to help you get your breathing into good shape!
For three years in a row, Breathwork has been the leading trend in wellness globally. It seems that everyone is jumping on the Breathing bandwagon these days. And I say: It’s about time! Because it’s basically impossible to be a healthy human if you are not a healthy breather!
Just about every physical, emotional, and psychological issue or problem can be linked to dysfunctional breathing habits and patterns. In fact, respiratory health and breathing capacity is one of the strongest indicators of life expectancy and longevity. And did you know that up to 60 percent of 911 ambulance calls in America’s largest cities are related to breathing disorders?
Breathing monitors, breathing exercises and breath training devices have become the rage. Hollywood celebrities and even blue-chip medical authorities have been speaking out about the importance of breathwork.
Covid in all its forms and with all its variants have been wreaking havoc in the lungs of people all over the planet.
Almost every day, another article or report is published on the benefits of applying breathwork for substance abuse and trauma recovery, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic fatigue, PTSD, ADHD, and a host of other health challenges.
It’s no wonder that the breathwork movement is finally becoming a mainstream movement. More and more medical experts with scientific credentials as well as everyday people with common sense, are realizing that we must be proactive when it comes to respiratory health.
Sport and fitness trainers everywhere are finally focusing on the importance of conscious breathing and breathwork training. Psychotherapists, spiritual counselors, meditation teachers, yoga instructors, and mindset coaches are preaching the benefits breathwork practices.
And so, this month, I’d like to give you a few simple breathing exercises and techniques to help you get your breathing into good shape!
The first place to start is with “Breath Awareness.” Are you breathing through your nose or your mouth? Make sure that nose breathing is your unconscious habit—when awake or sleeping, when working or resting. Practice and train until it is automatic, until it becomes second nature.
Next, don’t rely on accessory muscles when you breathe. Learn to relax your neck muscles and your shoulder muscles when you breathe. Become a master of diaphragmatic breathing!
Develop a protocol for yourself wherein you exercise the parameters of breathing. Your breathing mechanism is like a musical instrument. Practice the scales every day, and remember to practice a bit before an important conversation, event, or performance.
What are the parameters? What are the scales? Think of it this way: Breathing Fast and Breathing Slow. Breathing High and Breathing Low. Pushing, Pulling, Pausing, and Pacing.
Make sure you can access your three breathing spaces. Get breath down into the belly and pelvis. Create flexibility of the chest and back and ribs, to allow ease and expansion in all directions (side to side, front to back, and top to bottom.
Take in a deep breath and fill yourself up completely. Hold your breath, and then stretch and move and twist and turn and arch and curl your spine. Then squeeze all the air out of your lungs and hold your breath while you twist and turn and stretch and move and arch and curl your spine.
Breathe very quickly and smoothly for a minute or two, and then very slowly for a minute of two. And play with effort and relaxation. Make the inhale active and make the exhale passive. Then make the exhale active and the inhale passive.
Pace your breathing. Play with different breathing rhythms. Play with pauses between the breaths. Pausing at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale, and at the halfway full and empty points.
And to balance all this, practice the principle of allowing. We need to get good at ‘taking’ full deep breaths. But we also need to master the art of being breathed, the art of deeply ‘receiving’ the breath!
Remember that breathwork is about getting your head straight and your heart aligned when you breathe. Your attitude and your intention is everything when you practice breathwork. Remember that consciousness is primary.
When you are working with your breath—when you are playing with it—remember that you are breathing energy not just air. Deliberately focus on love and joy and peace, and especially on appreciation and gratitude. Consciously access or generate these energies and feelings when you breathe.
Good luck in your practice and many blessing on your path!
Besides breathing, grieving is one of the most natural things that we do. We are designed with the capacity to grieve, and we intuitively know how to do it. Yes, it is sad, gut-wrenching, and hurts our hearts, but it is organic. Thus, grieving is not the problem, it is our relationship to it, a relationship that is largely impacted by the societal undervaluing of vulnerability.
2020 has quickly become the year of all things breath related, from Covid-19’s attack on our lungs and needing to breath through a mask, to the Black Lives Matter slogan #ICantBreathe, from the last words of Eric Garner, to the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. We no longer can take our breath for granted. The truth is, we should never have taken our breath for granted.