What’s Up With Breathing?

Last week I was asked to help a young man prep for a life shaping interview, by teaching him how to breathe. The young people today are doing such great things for our world, my pleasure, of course.

When I asked him to fall still and take those 3 luxurious breaths—in through the nose, out through the nose, belly out on the in breath, belly in on the out breath—he said, “Hmm, I don’t think I breathe through my nose, usually my mouth.”

He’s not alone, and I’m guessing that the 30-50% number for mouth breathers could be low. Plus, just a couple of weeks ago, a young woman said she got an app to tell her when she’s not breathing at all. Before that, she had no idea how often she was just not breathing at all.

I’ve heard some Breathwork gurus recommend breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth, while others recommend breathing in and out through the nose. So, around 10 years ago, I asked a mind/body physician for his thoughts on this.

This physician said that out through the mouth was energizing, and out through the nose was calming. But my philosophy tutors always said that it doesn’t matter who says what, until and unless our own experience confirms it. And, since my experience told me that in and out through the nose both calmed and energized, I went with that.

Then, recently I heard that we should nose breathe, not just as a technique we use from time to time—but as a way of breathing all the time!   Okay, so why? What’s so great about nose breathing?

Benefits of Nose Breathing

Wellness journalist, Fred Garratt-Stanley, reported on the benefits of nose breathing:

Breathing through the nose is healthier, more natural, and more efficient than breathing through the mouth. Nasal breathing encourages a more effective use of the air you inhale, and it can reduce the chances of you suffering from health issues like dry mouth or bad breath.

But despite this information, it’s estimated that around 30-50% of adults breathe through their mouth (this is especially common early in the morning). That’s a large section of the population who aren’t making the most of what the breath has to offer.

Garratt-Stanley’s list of benefits include:

#1. Less Exposure To Foreign Substances

#2. Humified Air

#3. Nitric Oxide Production

#4. Improved Athletic Performance

#5. Reduced Stress And Anxiety: This is a big one. Nasal breathing is excellent for helping you deal with moments of stress, anxiety, and panic. While mouth breathing encourages unhelpful rapid, shallow breaths, the nose helps you slow down your breath and calm racing thoughts.

#6. Better Sleep (And we all know no how important Sleep is!)

#7. Lowered Risk Of Allergies And Hayfever

In Forbes, Charlie Hugh-Jones calls “Breathwork: Your New High-Performance Habit”:

Breathwork requires conscious engagement with specific patterns of breathing to unlock the potential benefits that include increased focusreduced anxietydecreased negative effects of stress and inflammationbetter quality sleep and perhaps even a longer life.

New studies are showing just how much our breathing shapes our brain and, therefore, our lives:

“Difficulty breathing is associated with a very large increase in the risk for mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. We know that respiration, respiratory illness, and psychiatric disorders are closely linked.”

And, if companies with breathwork coaches already include Linkedin, Nike, JP Morgan, and Google—with or without a coach—why not you?

How to Power Breathe

There are many, many ways to breathe your way to a happier, healthier, prosperous and productive life. Seven of them can be found here. Hugh-Jones, in Forbes, also details a 90 second method:

“Navy Seals call it “box breathing” and they use it to shift to a more relaxed, yet high, focus state. Other examples include super ventilation — 30 to 50 breaths of forced rapid exhalation leading to reflexive inhalation — as famously practiced by surfer Laird Hamilton, life and business strategist Tony Robbins and the endurance guru Wim Hof.

So again, there are many ways to use your nose to enrich and empower your life.

But I like the one I call Power Breathing, the one that only takes 30 seconds to get yourself to calm, clear, focused and energized—to go about your life—with your higher brain in charge.

You can find the 30 second mindset reset that I call Power Breathing by clicking here. Practice, practice, practice, and let us know what you find.

Oh, and if things get heated around the holiday dinner table—don’t forget to breathe, in through the nose, out through the nose…

Warmest wishes,

Madelaine

Photo by Pexels Simon Robben

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