Box Breathing – If its good enough for Navy Seals…

Breathing Techniques

Navy Seals train hard and not just on their bodies but on their minds too.  They have to be able to stay calm in the most frightening of situations.  What if we could learn to do it to so that we can better handle our emotions and our busy over active minds.

Well with practice we can and it is all down to our breathing.  When we are frightened or angry our breathing naturally becomes more rapid and shallow which causes fight or flight response and the more we do this the more we are likely to develop chronic illnesses brought on by this stress response.

Here is how Box Breathing or four square Breathing works

 

Before you get started, make sure that you’re seated upright in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor. Try to be an a stress-free, quiet environment where you can focus on your breathing. Keeping your hands relaxed in your lap with your palms facing up, focus on your posture. You should be sitting up straight. This will help you take deep breaths.

When you’re ready, start with step 1.

Step 1

Sitting upright, slowly exhale, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.

Step 2

Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. In this step, count to four very slowly in your head. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time, until your lungs are completely full and the air moves into your abdomen.

Step 3

Hold your breath for another slow count of four.

Step 4

Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.

Step 5

Hold your breath for the same slow count of four before repeating this process.

 

Practice anywhere and throughout the day as often as you like or just before you know you are going to feel nervous and this will help to calm you down.

 

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Buteyko Breathing

Breathing Techniques

Listening to Ben Greenfield at A fest give out some amazing hacks from ancient snd modern science about how to live life at an optimal level and one of his many many strategies is Buteyko Breathing.

So I started researching and practicing this type of breathing.

Bullet Proof Dave asprey had Buteyko therapist and author Patrick Mckeown on his podcast talking and demonstrating the techniques. It was such a fascinating podcast.

In the 1950s, Russian scientist Dr. Konstantin Buteyko identified over 150 disorders which could be resolved by normalising the breathing, and spent the next three decades developing breathiing exercises and strategies to achieve this.

The Buteyko Method of breathing re-training has now been taught over the past 20 years as a highly effective, drug-free education process which helps normalise and improve the breathing, reducing the symptoms of many common disorders. By learning the method, you can experience the medical benefits already enjoyed by thousands of people worldwide:

upto 70% less coughing, breathlessness & wheezing

reduced need for medication

improved sleep and quality of life

enhanced ability for exercise

How to do it?

A useful tool with Buteyko breathing is a simple concept called the control pause. The control pause provides feedback about your relative breathing volume. To obtain an accurate measurement, please rest for 10 minutes before measuring.

  1. Take a small, silent breath in through your nose and allow a small silent breath out through your nose.
  2. Hold your nose with your fingers to prevent air from entering your lungs.
  3. Count the number of seconds until you feel the first definite desire to breathe.
  4. At the first definite desire to breathe in, you may also feel the first involuntary movements of your breathing muscles. Your tummy may jerk and the area around your neck may contract.
  5. Your inhalation at the end of the breath should be calm.
  6. Release your nose and breathe in through it.

Remember that taking your control pause entails holding your breath only until you feel the first involuntary movements of your breathing muscles, or the first stress of your body telling you to “breathe.” If you had to take a big breath at the end of the breath hold, then you held your breath for too long.

A very good control pause amounts to 40 seconds, and a good control pause amounts to 30 seconds. A control pause of 25 seconds indicates room for improvement, while a control pause of 15 seconds or less is indicative of symptoms such as respiratory complaints (asthma, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or nasal problems), sleep disordered breathing (insomnia, fatigue, snoring, or obstructive sleep apnea) or anxiety complaints (excessive worrying, high stress levels, poor concentration) or any other condition resulting from chronic overbreathing. The significance of the control pause for asthma is explained in the video below.

The good news is that you will feel better each time your control pause increases by five seconds, and the first step to increase your control pause is to learn to breathe through your nose both day and night.

https://buteykoclinic.com/team_members/patrick-mckeown/

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathing Techniques

Diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes called belly breathing, is a deep breathing technique that engages your diaphragm, a dome-shaped sheet of muscle at the bottom of your ribcage that is primarily responsible for respiratory function.

 

To try it, bring one hand above your belly button and one hand at your heart. Close your eyes and take a few deep, full breaths, allowing your hands to move out and up slightly with the inhale and move back in with the exhale. When the diaphragm moves naturally with your breath, a lot of seemingly magical things happen. Here are just some of the benefits of belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing from a physiological perspective.

1.) Helps Our Respiratory System to Work Most Efficiently

Have you ever watched a baby or your dog or cat breathe? What do you notice? Probably a lot of 3-dimensional expansive movement around the abdomen and whole body. Our breath should naturally move us, and it did—before society trained us to breathe inefficiently.

What were we told as we got older? Suck it in and squeeze your belly. We wore tight clothes that restrict breathing. As we get older, many of us unintentionally trained ourselves out of the most efficient and natural method of breathing—diaphragmatic.

With poor breathing habits, gas exchange is not efficient. This means that our cells are not getting the nutrients they need at the best rate. When trillions of cells are not happy, we can feel unhappy, with lethargy and brain fog in the short term, along with chronic health problems in the long term. Retraining ourselves to breathe with the diaphragm more can lead to natural vitality and well-being.

2.) Stimulates the Relaxation Response

The “relaxation response” refers to the turning on of the parasympathetic nervous system. This also turns off the overactive sympathetic nervous system (a.k.a fight or flight, or the “stress response”). Deep breaths are our only access to this autonomic nervous system, which automatically makes our heart beat and food digest most efficiently.

By developing the capacity to choose the relaxation response over the stress response MORE often, we can calm anxiety and lower the risk of stress-related conditions like heart disease, digestive disorders, sleep disorders, depression, and more.

In particular, you can initiate the relaxation response by practicing deep, diaphragmatic breaths with elongated exhales.

Go ahead and try it now: This time, put both hands right above your belly button near your lower ribs and diaphragm. Take 5 deep breaths with a 3-second inhale and 6-second exhale. Feel the movement under your hands. Do you feel the profound difference from that simple exercise?

3.) Relieves Pain

By using breathing techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, we can help relieve pain in the short term and lower the likelihood of flares in the long term.

4.) Gently Stretches and Tones Core Muscles, Including the Pelvic Floor

The core muscles mainly include the abdominals, erector back muscles (the muscles that keep us tall and erect), diaphragm, and pelvic floor.  When we breathe, that natural three-dimensional movement of the body helps keep the muscles in the area healthy.

5.) Improves Posture

In order to do diaphragmatic breathing properly, you have to sit tall. This allows all of your organ systems to work more efficiently. You digest your food better, your heart pumps more efficiently, your nerves and blood vessels are less likely to get pinched, and you actually release more hormones that make you feel more confident.

With all of your systems working better, you will feel more confident and focused. So what are you waiting for? Try practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing several times during the day and you’ll reap all these wonderful benefits for your body.

 

 

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