This is a good lesson, and one I've been ignoring (or neglecting) in my own life for a while now. It's time to get back to the basics!
Breathing. It's weird to think, right? How can we forget about breathing when it's a vital function to sustain our lives.
The thing is while we breathe, for the most part we don't breathe properly as we only use part of our lungs. Not our whole lungs.
Try it out, see how you feel:
- Plant both feet firmly on the ground.
- Sit up tall.
- Taller. As tall as you can. Pretend someone has the back of your head attached to a string, and they are pulling you up. Your back, neck and head are all in a straight line.
- Your feet firmly planted on the ground.
- Now, very slowly, draw in a breath starting with the bottom of your lungs, followed by mid-lung, and then the top of your lungs.
- When you release, release from top, middle, bottom (reverse order). And repeat a few times. Did you know you have that much lung to fill?
Often when we are in a hyperactive, or stressed, state, we only use the top portions of our lungs to breathe.
Alternatively, when we are in a sedated or calm state we often only use the bottom portions of our lungs.
Without using our whole lungs we're potentially not getting enough oxygen into our bloodstream.
Breathing properly has many benefits:
- Increased oxygen intake and bloodflow
- Releases toxins
- Can be used to enter flow state
- Meditative states
- Energy or performance boosts during sports
There are many more benefits and applications. There are even more styles of breathing than there are benefits!
Box breathing (one of my favorites), mothers breathe, 2 step, triangle breathing (and all sorts of other shapes).
Box breathing can be a great place to start. It helps with state regulation (controlling our moods), focus, flow, and can be coupled with many visualization or meditation practices.
It's simple: pick a count (example 4). Starting from the bottom of a breathe breathe in to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, then repeat for however many rounds or minutes time allows. 2 minutes at a time is a great starting point for beginners.
Even when it comes to our daily interactions, proper breaths can be a big help. How many times have we suffered foot in mouth syndrome? Too many!
One way to mitigate that is to take a deep breath (or two) before answering someone, thus slowing down the conversation and giving us a bit more time to think.
It's powerful, you definitely want to try it some time.
Breathe and stay hydrated friends, catch you on the next blog!