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Just Breathe

woman underwater holding breath air bubble oxygen
Breathing is our body's top priority

My Sensei at Karate had a habit of wandering around the dojo during training, usually in the middle of an intense session of conditioning, when we were all bright red in the face and gasping for breath. He would cheerfully boom out into the room, "BREATHE! If not, you die!"

Hard to argue with that...especially when you're struggling to breathe.

We can go about three days without water, 1-2 months without food depending on the conditions, and according to google the longest anyone has gone without sleep is 11 days and 25 minutes. If we stop breathing, most of us will die within minutes.

What if I said I had a medicine that would keep you calm but alert? That would relax and energise you? That would help you recover, boost your immune system, lower the oxidative stress that causes aging, power you up, and fuel every cell in your body, from your frazzled brain to your taxed muscles? You’d say, ‘Give it to me,’ right? Well, here it is. And no side effects. Take it every day—doctor’s orders." - Belisa Vranich, Breathe

Belisa is talking about breathing - or, more specifically, breathing well.

inhale exhale repeat breathe
breathing well has massive benefits for our health

How is your breathing? Do you find yourself holding your breath during your day? Sighing a lot? Breathing shallowly, or fast? Do you snore?

All of these are common problems, and all of these mean your breathing is less than adequate. Poor breathing can heighten pain, anxiety, depression, and reduce mental functioning, as well as lower your immune response and your muscles ability to perform and recover.

So, how does one breathe well? I am so glad you asked. Let's take a look at that, shall we?

  1. Stand up tall, or sit up straight, lifting your chest up and keeping your chin down

  2. Place one hand on your belly, and one on your chest

  3. Inhale through your nose, slowly and gently - filling your stomach first, then your chest (you'll feel your hands move as each fills with air). Aim for 4 seconds in if you're new to this

  4. Hold your breath for a count of 2 when you're at the top of your inhale (when you can't take in any more air)

  5. Exhale slowly and gently through your nose, emptying your chest first, then your stomach, until there is no more air left to push out, aim for 5 seconds

  6. Hold your breath for a count of 2

  7. Repeat!

It's that simple. But - simple doesn't mean easy. If you've been breathing poorly for some time, and most of us have been, this can take some practice to coordinate and get the hang of. Keep going! If you stick with it you'll find it gets easier and easier, and you'll start to breathe better in your day to day life as well.

Give it a go. What have you got to lose?


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