Learn all the secrets to breathing well!
Have you noticed how you hold your breath
when preoccupied with a task that requires exertion?
This is exactly when you need to remind yourself to breathe slowly,
to bring oxygen into the body.
“What do you mean I don’t know how to breathe?
I’ve been breathing all my life!”— Read this now!

Breathing

 

The Second Wind First

The “second wind” is well known as the ability to breathe freely during exercise, after having been out of breath (a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort). The “out of breath” state is characterized by fast breathing (like a dog panting) or hyperventilating, which is not good.

Ocean Breathing” slows the panting (hyperventilating). Breathing this way, we do not become out of breath. We do not exhaust ourselves, and so we do not need to find a second wind. Our “first wind” is our second wind, and so we can leap into this effortless mode (without years of painful and strenuous work).

Ocean Breathing sounds like a whispering voice (as a yoga instructor might say, “… the sound of the wind at the back of the throat”).

Stress and anger also trigger hunched shoulders and shallow breathing. When relaxed, there are neither hunched shoulders nor shallow breathing. How you breathe is closely associated with whether you are relaxed or tense. Because breathing is an autonomic body function (your body breathes without you thinking or doing anything about it) it is possible to spend your entire life giving no thought or effort to breathing.

Out-of-control breathing is related to stress, tension, inflammation, shallow breathing, hyperventilating, high blood pressure (constricted blood vessels), and constricted airways. Compare that to conscious, controlled, relaxed breathing: arteries and airways relax and dilate; the body relaxes; the shoulders drop; blood pressure drops in response to the dilation of the arteries. Sustaining effort becomes easier. Conscious breathing begins with simply becoming aware of your breath. Watch, listen to, pay attention to your breathing.

The purpose of the mind-body connection (and the constant dialogue between the mind and the body) is to relax and to align the body. Doing this dissipates tension from the body. We only move once the body is relaxed and aligned, and we are in control of our breathing.

Controlling your breathing becomes a habit, especially once we realize the benefits. The breathing method can be as simple as the basic breathing technique taught during voice training. Some of the best breathing techniques come from yoga, like the one that I use almost always: “Ocean Breathing” (below). My “breathing games” (below) are yoga’s pranayama (simplified and westernized).

Animals can teach us many things about moving naturally. Observing my dog has taught me much about movement. Just before my dog jumps into the car, she pauses, takes a breath, and then exhales it (“E” for exhale, “E” for effort), and then she jumps into the car! No one taught her this. Animals instinctively know the right way to do things.

A common and simple yoga breathing technique—used to throw off toxins—is to inhale to the count of four (or six or eight), hold for the same count, and then exhale for the same count. This is the breathing technique we use while swimming, and is perfect for use while you are relaxing.

Every time you swim with your face under water, you are using a basic detoxifying breathing technique from yoga! There is an important relationship between swimming and breathing. Breathing as if we were swimming is an important part of increasing the aerobic benefit of all of our daily activities.

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Summary
Breathing
Article Name
Breathing
Description
Learn all the secrets to breathing well! Have you noticed how you hold your breath when preoccupied with a task that requires exertion? This is exactly when you need to remind yourself to breathe slowly, to bring oxygen into the body. “What do you mean I don’t know how to breathe? I’ve been breathing all my life!”— Read this now!
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