Breathing is living, and breathing well implies living better.
By John Chisenhall Director and Instructor of the DeRose Method
By far our most underestimated physiological activity is our breath. Before reviewing how to breathe correctly, let’s take a moment to consider a few reasons why breathing is so important.
I’m passionate about harnessing the power of ‘breath’ because I believe it is often the quickest way to make a positive and meaningful impact on someone’s life. Breath is like a control board for the body, emotions, and mind. Each breathing rhythm has a corresponding nervous system response, either an emotional state, and / or mental state.
Still not convinced? There are three fundamental sources of energy that we need to live: food, water, and air. We can survive for several weeks without food, a few days without water, but only a few minutes without air. The difference in value between these three sources of vital energy is exponential, yet so few people know how to breathe correctly to harness that value.
The basic mechanics of conscious breathing are:
- Breathing through the nose, both inhaling and exhaling. Breathing through the nose cleans, humidifies and climatizes the air before reaching the lungs.
- Breathe deeply and utilize your full lung capacity with diaphragmatic breathing.
Inhale, filling the lungs from the bottom up, letting the air travel down to the lowest section of the lungs (causing the diaphragm to lower) causing the abdomen to expand, then filling the middle section causing the rib cage to dilate laterally and finally filling the upper section causing the chest the expand and rise. Exhale inversely, releasing the air from the top down. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel easy or “natural”. It is, and when you were born you probably were breathing abdominally. Once you practice enough you will breathe deeply even when you are not paying attention.
Manage the rhythm of your breath. As I said before, our physiological, emotional and mental states are influenced by the patterns of our breath. Knowing how to manage the rhythm of your breathing is also important. We will divide the breath into four steps: inhalation, retention with air, exhalation, and retention without air. The proportion between these four parts is what we refer to as the rhythm. Before practicing the following techniques you should sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and exclusively pay attention to your breath:
Inhale for four seconds, retain with air in the lungs for four seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat the technique during three minutes.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing better!
About the DeRose Method: The DeRose Method is a unique practice proven to help develop an individual’s brain, body and emotions, through techniques (breathing, body awareness and physical health, relaxation, concentration, meditation) and concepts (mental attitude, ability to cope with pressure, behavioral and emotional management, relational skills and management, stress management and good nourishment). These skills build the solid foundation upon which one’s daily performance will thrive.