By Adam Smith
Why Breathing Is A Powerful Tool
The typical adult can take between 14,000 to 20,000 breaths a day. How many do we notice? I can say with confidence probably not an awful lot. The system works perfectly so we don’t even have to take much notice of it. I would even say we take it for granted that it works so well, especially as it’s the process that’s keeping us alive. Depending on our mood or physical state our breath can be smooth when we are calm and very intense when we are fearful. That’s why it’s important to take control of our breath when our body is in demanding situations.
A Great Form Of Meditation
Breath-work for me has become a great way of meditating by taking control of my breath I can therefore take control of my thoughts and emotions. Doing any of these 5 exercises below has helped me feel at peace with my self. Where now I feel more calm, focussed and happy within my life. I hope 1 of these techniques below can help you feel the same.
The 5 Breathing Techniques
4 7 8 Breathing
This technique is great when you’re on the move. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. This is helpful when you’re surrounded by people in a stressful situation or you feel anxiety while walking or in daily life. This has helped me tremendously is taking control of my stress and anxiety and reverting it to my normal state.
This is probably the most famous breathing technique around with millions of views on YouTube currently. Wim has been pushing his bodies boundaries for over a decade breaking world records along the way. Now he teaches his methods and the breathing technique he uses. It’s intense breathing through the nose and out the mouth for 1 minute then taking 1 last deep breath in and on the exhale hold for either 1min or 2min then breathe in then hold again for 15 secs before repeating the exercise 3 more times. Wim claims that people do a lot of slim breathing and deep intense breathing can have positive impacts on endurance and strength conditioning.
The reason its call box breathing is because it focuses on all 4 corners of the breath. The inhale, breath-hold, the exhale, and breath-hold. The preferred use of this is by following the pattern of inhaling for 4 seconds, followed by a four-second hold, then exhaling for 4 seconds and then followed by a 4-second hold. This should all be done breathing through your nose for a minimum of 5 rounds. This is preferred to be done early in the morning or of course when your feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.
I first came across this with Breathe and Flow. They tend to do this after a Yoga session. This is alternate nostril breathing so first with your right hand get your thumb and wedding ring finger and place it on your nostrils. Then with your pointer and middle finger place those between your eyebrows. Followed by closing your left nostril with your thumb and breath in then out and back in one more time and then close the right nostril to breath out through the left nostril the breath in through the same nostril. Then repeat for 5 to 10 cycles allowing your mind to follow the cycles like a wave in the sea. I feel amazing after doing this and my mind and nostrils defiantly feel clear.
This is an intense breath-work which consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by powerful contractions of the lower belly which push air out of the lungs. Again this is used after my Yoga practice.
These are the 5 techniques that I have practised. My personal favourite is the Nadi Shodhana but all have their positives. I tend to go through them all each month to keep me on my toes and not to get too comfortable doing just 1 technique. I recommend if you haven’t already just to give it a go for 1 month and evaluate your experience and whether you have gained anything from it. For me and a lot of people, I’ve read or come across it has helped them a lot. So let’s get back to basics and get in touch with breathing. It’s what’s keeping us alive.
I hope enjoyed this post on breathing techniques, I hope to see you in the next post!