12 tips for better breathing
- The main purpose of breathing is to maintain an ideal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system
- A key function of breathing is to ensure that you maintain a healthy store of carbon dioxide – your natural tranquilliser
- Breathing too rapidly or to deeply can deplete these essential stores of carbon dioxide – leading to all sorts of imbalances in your system
- 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
- For the most part concentrate on breathing out long and slowly. This conserves your essential carbon dioxide stores.
- 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.
- Prolonging and slowing the out-breath calms and sedates. Do this when you wish to calm and centre yourself.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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