Is it an odd thing to state that breathing is an art and a skill? Is it even weirder to state that if we were able to observe and practice breathing, we could open up our mind and body to achieve anything that stands in our way?
To practice breathing… People will argue that breathing is a subconscious act that happens without thought, as if we had to think about breathing while sleeping, we would die. And this is true, but to become conscious to our breath, our inhalation and exhalation whilst in certain stressful scenarios, we could gain certain benefits via body and mind.
On www.CBCLIFE.ca there is an article called “From flight or flight to rest and digest: How to reset your nervous system with breath” it states that “Breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation to exhalation ratio, signals the nervous system to calm the body down. Long, deep breaths can also manage our stress responses to help decrease anxiety, fear, racing thoughts, a rapid heart rate and shallow chest breathing.”
When we end up in a flight or fight scenario, our adrenal glands kick in signalling our body to get ready. Our heart rate and breathing raises to get more oxygenated blood to move around the body. Our blood supply starts to move away from our digestive organs and supplies our extremities (limbs) with more blood to get us ready for action.
Thankfully in our day-to-day life, in the society we live in, most of us won’t need to experience a fight or flight scenario too often. But when stressed, when demands of everyday life get too much, adrenaline can kick in and the same physiological response as a “fight or flight” scenario can happen which puts a huge strain on the body and the organs such as the heart. This is why they say that stress is the #1 proxy killer. The American Medical Association noted that “stress is the basic cause for more than 60% of all human illnesses and diseases.” (www.npionline.org)
A man called as Wim Hof (AKA the Ice Man) has developed a practice that has shown to improve health and quality of life. In some cases, he has shown incredible acts that scientists are still struggling to explain all through his conscious breathing method. This link (www.wimhofmethod.com/science) shows videos that have broken scientific understanding. An example of a study shows how through his breathing method, Wim Hof is able to control his para-sympathetic nervous system, even when injected with an endotoxin. The video link for this is here for you to check out https://youtu.be/A6jqaALpEFM.
A great medium in showing examples in our every-day life would be to look at how we breathe during our exercise. I know if anyone has taken my classes or if you are one of my own clients, you would have heard me stating and reminding you to breathe.
Let’s take a push up, when we start to lower the push up the body will start to feel stress, and usually you will start to notice the holding of one’s breath before we start to fail. Remembering to breath in on the way down and breathing out as we push back up not only improves the technique, but also 9/10 you will find you will be able to achieve more repetitions.
So, hopefully this will provide you with some food for thought. When feeling stressed, in an argument or just wanting to improve a certain exercise, bring yourself back to the breath, be conscious of how it feels and just breathe. I can benefit you in more ways than you may of first realised.