There has been an explosion in ‘breathwork’ training in recent years – with growing numbers attending classes, and Fitbits and smartwatches offering guided breathing exercises. Celebrities have publicly endorsed the wonderful effects breathwork has and there has been a proliferation of training techniques that have now hit the mainstream. As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and the world went into lockdown, even more people began to embrace the virtues of breathwork as a means to alleviate stress and help their mental health.
Studies have indicated that up to 90 percent of people are breathing incorrectly. These have resulted in a whole host of ailments such as asthma, allergies, sleep apnea, snoring, hypertension, and other issues. While breathing may seem like second nature, it may well be that most of us are breathing poorly and that this is affecting our health and wellbeing.
The benefits of breathing well cannot be understated. By breathing slowly and rhythmically through your nose you can alleviate the effects of allergies and asthmas, as well as other respiratory problems. According to James Nestor, author of the bestselling Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, “controlled breathing will bring your body back into balance, allowing you better athletic performance, better sleep etc.
Nestor says many modern ailments can be blamed on bad breathing, which in turn is largely a result of how humans have evolved to have smaller mouths, thus smaller airways. In addition, we also now have to contend with the modern problems of pollution, stress, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles which are all getting in the way of better breathing.
Nestor referenced the few hundred hunter-gatherer tribes still left and observed that there’s zero asthma, zero allergies, zero hypertension, and zero lung problems amongst them.
Leading breathing coach, Richie Bostock noted that people suffering from chronic stress tended to engage in a chest or clavicular breathing pattern – telltale signs include the shoulders rising vertically and the chest-puffing out when inhaling – which can lead to back and neck pain and extreme fatigue.
On the other hand, utilising the correct, controlled breathing techniques can help combat stress, sharpen your mind and keep your brain in tip top condition. One method suggested by therapists is called ‘365’ wherein you breathe six cycles per minute, inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for five seconds, at least three times a day, for five minutes at a time, to be repeated for all 365 days of the year.
Visit www.thebreathguy.com for more information on Richie Bostock and his coaching
Please note that this article is not a replacement for professional medical advice.