For almost all of this, where our health and energy levels are concerned, the answer is yes. If you take more then 4-8 breaths a minute while at rest then you are only using a piece of your lung capacity. This results in over-breathing, a mild, low grade hyper-ventilation. Oddly enough, when we breath rapidly we actually get less oxygen to our blood. This is partly to do with the fact that the richest blood flow goes to the lower lobes of the lung. The lower lung isn’t utilized or activated much at all with the shallow chest breathing that is most peoples habit.
Retraining our breathing patterns alone can get us to the point of taking only a few, deep… relaxing… clarifying breaths per minute. There is no great struggle. All it takes is some persistence.
Set an alarm on your watch or phone to give a single, unobtrusive chime every hour throughout your day. When it chimes, take ten intentional breaths. Inhaling as much air as you can without straining. Be sure that the breath moves down into your abdomen. If at all possible (i.e. not while doing a presentation in front of your boss) work the shoulder rolls shown in the video too.
Three weeks of this reminder and you will have significantly rewired your breathing habits. Your energy levels will be higher. Physical performance will improve. Mood will stabilize. You will think more clearly. You won’t need as much sleep.
Yes, breathing alone is that effective and that easy. So start now, set your timer.
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-Becca, A happy new member of our Qigong and Tai Chi community