Why You Need To Try Breath Training

Why You Need To Try Breath Training

If you ever catch yourself holding your breath in a time of stress, you might be the perfect candidate to start breath training. Paulo Pacifici, an exponent of the DeRose method, tells us why breath training is important and how it’s done.

Is Breath Training Different From Meditation?

The two are intrinsically linked, but they are not the same. Meditation is a practice to get to a meditative state, a way of switching off and allowing the body and mind to sit in peace and stillness. Breathing plays a huge part in meditation as well as all yoga practices, and shares many of their results, such as reduced stress and increased energy. However, breath work as a discipline involves more than 50 different techniques, which can be used in different ways to see and feel different results. 

Why Do We Hold Our Breath So Often?

It is amazing how many people stop breathing at different points through the day and night without ever being aware of it. This can be an important sign that you are not breathing correctly. For many it is also a sign of stress. Rather than helping, holding your breath lowers the oxygen in your system, so actually increases the feeling of stress.

Holding your breath can also mean there is a potential internal disconnect. Breathing is one of the key links between the conscious and subconscious mind. ​We all know a deep breath helps us to think more clearly, evaluate our actions and bring us back to the moment during a time of stress or panic. If breathing is the entry point to your subconscious, then it is probably trying to tell you something when you find yourself holding your breath.

When you learn breathing techniques, instead of holding your breath, you’ll breathe deeper and slower. As your brain is working better, you’ll be more productive and creative.

How Can We Improve Our Own Breathing?

Breathing should use more of the diaphragm and less of the chest. When you inhale, you have to expand your abdomen out, filling up the lower part of the lungs; when you exhale, you contract your abdomen inwards. By doing that, you are using the biggest part of your lungs and the one that oxygenates your body correctly. You can add a simple rhythm as an exercise: inhale for two seconds; hold your lungs full for two seconds; then exhale for two seconds. If this feels easy, increase by one second per phase in your next cycle – to three, four and maybe even five seconds. Time this exercise to last for five minutes. At the end, observe how you feel different because you’ve changed the way you breathe.

How Long Does It Take To Train And Optimise Breathing?

Just like there is a technique for optimising the way you run, walk, or even type, there is a technique for optimising and improving the way you breathe. It is very easy to learn this technique, but mastering it may take a little longer. However, you will feel results almost immediately. From the first moment you learn the basic rules, you feel a massive difference to your vitality. Later it will help you to manage emotions and stress, as well as to maintain focus and mental clarity. We recommend you train for five minutes daily. In no time you will be experiencing the positive effects.

Can better breathing really help improve concentration?

We teach 58 traditional breathing techniques. Each of them has a different purpose and can be used in different situations. The idea is to train in the classroom, so that when you are faced with situations of stress, or when you need creativity, you can fall back on your training and use those techniques. Done one way, breath work can decrease the brain waves to facilitate and empower meditation. It does this by surpassing the instabilities (vrittis) of the mind. Another technique can heighten brain activity to increase concentration, creativity or your performance at work.

How do I get started?

Many of our students practise and train not just in our schools but in their homes, during their commute, or even while cooking or working. In our eyes, a true practitioner is someone who has incorporated the techniques into their lives and is using them throughout the day. My three pointers to start are:

  1. Always breathe through your nostrils and from the diaphragm, even when you exercise.

  2. When you inhale, gently push your tummy out

  3. When you exhale, contract your tummy inwards. 

Paulo Pacifici is Founder of the Ady Centre – DeRose Method Soho.

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