Take a deep breath in, pause. exhale. Take another breath in, inhale through your nose, pause and exhale through your mouth.
As a scuba instructor I would tell my students that breathing was overrated! Understandably, they never took me seriously! Just as well or I would have had to implement those rescue techniques that I taught!
There is so much more to breathing then just, well, breathing!
I first understood the underlying importance of breathing properly during my karate training in my preteen years. Particularly when I was doing tension kata, which is a real focus of mind, body and spirit.
At the very core of things, breathing facilitates the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the body. Oxygen is required for metabolism and to keep us alive. While it is inherent to living and we often do it without much thought, there are quite a number of aspects to breathing correctly.
When we actually focus on breathing, it can be used to achieve different things, such as:
- breathing for mindfulness;
- breathing to optimise muscle performance; and
- breathing to reduce stress levels.
Over the next few articles, we’ll look at different types of breathing for reducing stress and increasing mindfulness.