Just focusing on breathing in, is not going to relax you
Taking a few minutes every morning to focus on our breath is the most important single change we can make towards better health and well-being.
Life Synergy acupuncturist and Chinese medicine expert Jonathan Yang says breathing is a natural ability everyone seems to forget how to do.
“Learning to improve the rhythm of our breathing is just so important,” Jonathan says.
“When I carve out time in my morning to focus on rhythmic breathing, it helps me become centred.”
Jonathan says how we breathe sets us up for our entire day and can mean the difference between feeling calm and in control or freaked out and frazzled.
“If we are serious about better health, then I believe learning to breathe well is the most critical thing we should all work on getting better at.”
It’s about the breath out, more than the breath in
While meditation experts teaching relaxation mainly focus on a deep breath in, Jonathan says we need to concentrate more on ensuring we fully breathe out.
Jonny teaches his patients to start by taking 20 short, sharp breaths in and out through the nose, focusing on their breath from the very beginning and ensuring they fully exhale.
“We want to get to a space where we are focusing intently on our breath but doing it effortlessly,” he said.
“I think meditation goes a little bit wrong because there is a mindset to focus too heavily on our inhalation, but we what we really need to pay more attention to our outward breaths.”
You only need a few minutes to practise
Jonathan starts his day with 20 short and sharp breaths through his nose.
He’s been rhythmic breathing for so long now that he can sit, stand, or even drive while he’s doing it.
“When we hold our breath or don’t fully exhale, then the oxygen converts to carbon dioxide; if you don’t exhale that, your body will keep breathing in oxygen but with a little carbon dioxide on top.”
Holding our breath or not fully exhaling can increase our breathing and heart rates, trigger emotional upset and set us up for fatigue.
Jonny says if he forgets to practise his rhythmic breathing, he finds it more challenging to be present.
“Learning to breathe correctly is the most important skill we teach our Life Synergy patients.”
“When we only breathe into the chest, it activates our flight or fight response.
“But when we learn to breathe right down to the pelvic floor, we initiate a calming response.
“If you start doing 20 breaths in and out today, that will be 20 more than you did yesterday.”
Jonny’s step-by-step breathing guide?
- Find a quiet and comfy place to sit upright with a relaxed posture.
- As you breathe in, ensure your breath expands right down to your lower abdomen and back.
- Really concentrate on the breath in. And really concentrate on the breath out. Focusing from the beginning to the end of the breath wakes consciousnesses, which is the basis of meditation.
- Once you master 20 breaths, you can just keep going.
WARNING: When you first start breathing in this way, you may feel a little dizzy or even begin to shake, and that’s because you are breathing out all the carbon dioxide and flooding your brain with oxygen. So, don’t drive while you practise until you get really good at it.