Do you know what is the common point between Athletes, top speaker, Martial Artists, Special Forces, and various top performers?
Yes! They all use their breathing to perform better.
And even if you've been breathing since you're born, stay with me, as we examine how you could improve it and why you should.
Indeed there are different breathings and understanding each of them is the key to unlock your full mental an physical potential. That's why breathing is a common (not so) secret technique in several martial arts, yoga and even religions...
Let us first begin with the most inefficient breathing: unconscious superficial breathing.
Unconscious superficial breathing.
This is what 99% people use daily.
When you don't think about your breathing it is usually superficial: your inhalations are shallow, short and frequent.
If it's enough to stay alive, it's far from optimal, as you'll discover below.
Simple little changes in the way you breathe can bring you many great advantages.
Conscious breathing is the first an simplest change you can do to improve your breathing.
With no change in pace or deepness of your breathing, being aware of it will improve the amount of oxygen that reaches your blood.
When you use a deep breathing you mechanically improve the amount of air that flow in your lungs and improve even more the amount of oxygen inhaled.
If you manage to control your pace to 6 inspiration per minute, you'll be doing coherent breathing.
It's easier than you'd think, counting from 1 to 5 on your inspiration and then again from 1 to 5 on your expiration will maintain that pace.
This is another mechanical way to improve the airflow. When you breathe, try to make your belly expand not your upper chest. Doing so will improve your diaphragm movement and the volume of oxygen exchanged in the lower parts of your lungs.
Also called reverted breathing this technique is well known and used by Taoists. This is a variant of the abdominal breathing where your belly bulges when you exhale and contract when you inhale.
The rationale behind this breathing (besides the Qi boost) is that it maximizes both inhale and exhale.
Afghan walk breathing
This kind of breathing while walking is inspired by the Afghan people who are able to walk long distances without effort.
The idea is to inhale/exhale/hold following a pattern based on a specific number of step.
A common pattern is 3-1-3, inhale on 3 steps, hold breath on one step, exhale on 3 steps, then repeat.
There are many others breathing, that I won't detail here because they can be dangerous without proper guidance.
I list them here for the record and because they can be definitely useful in some circumstances :
- Various Yoga breathing
- Vim Hoff breathing
By know, you might wonder what are the benefits of all those weird ways of breathing.
Let's start with an obvious fact:
All those efficient breathings raise the oxygen level in your blood and reduce the level of carbon dioxide in your blood.
This very simple fact has many effects:
- Better stamina/strength
- Pace of heart control (slow it down/speed it up)
- Prevent acidosis and the associated issues (headaches, sleepiness, confusion, fatigue...)
But various scientific studies demonstrate that it also indirectly:
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce your stress level
- Boost your basal metabolism
- Improve blood circulation
- Boost your energy (The Chinese word 'Qi' used for energy is sometimes translated as 'breath')
- Reduce pain
- Control your emotions
But as always, don't take my word for granted:
Next time you don't feel well, try to change your breathing and experience the improvement...
With this information, I hope you'll experiment different breathings and their associated benefits.
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