12 tips for better breathing

  1. The main purpose of breathing is to maintain an ideal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system
  2. A key function of breathing is to ensure that you maintain a healthy store of carbon dioxide – your natural tranquilliser
  3. Breathing too rapidly or to deeply can deplete these essential stores of carbon dioxide – leading to all sorts of imbalances in your system
  4. For the first few weeks, as your body becomes re-acquainted with what it is like to have a normal ‘diet’ of oxygen and carbon dioxide, you may wish to gently ease into practising your breathing exercises
  5. For the most part concentrate on breathing out long and slowly. This conserves your essential carbon dioxide stores.
  6. Consider using the Slow Out-breath and/or Buteyko Breathing as a way of normalising the supply of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your system.
  7. Prolonging and slowing the out-breath calms and sedates. Do this when you wish to calm and centre yourself.
  8. Advice to `breathe deeply’ when feeling anxious or agitated is misleading since most people interpret this by taking frequent and deep in-breaths. Doing this is likely to create a even more aroused state. When feeling anxious you need to prolong and slow your exhale.
  9. Deepening and prolonging the in-breath arouses and stimulates rather than calms you. Use this whenever you wish to get into a physically energetic state.
  10. Too much oxygen, relative to carbon dioxide, creates an agitated state. When you prolong the out-breath you conserve carbon dioxide and rebalance the system. Follow this with mind-calming exercises.
  11. Make the Easy Breathing habit part of your daily routine. Use this whenever you have a spare moment, such as when waiting, when delayed, between tasks, etc.
  12. Combine physical relaxation with Easy Breathing to create an Energy Break. Taking a number of 1-3 minute breaks like this keeps your mental and physical energy high – instead of allowing it to be dissipated by the gradual build-up of mental and physical tensions.

Because breathing is something we do without thinking about it it is very easy to slip back into the old patterns – even though we know they are un-useful. To `wire-in’ the new habits resolve to spend a couple of weeks making sure you persist with the new ways.

 by Reg Connolly