Am I Breathing Right?


May 18, 2021

 by Brian Friedman
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Have you heard this joke?

A yoga student approaches his teacher and asks, "Am I breathing right?"

The teacher asks, "How old are you?"

The student answers, "I'm 37 years old."

The teacher responds, "If you've made it to 37, I think you're breathing right."

-Groan-

I know ... the joke is pretty awful but it makes a great point ... if you're alive, you're breathing just fine.

The real question usually has to do with a specific breathwork technique. And sometimes questions surface. Things like:

  • Is it normal to have headaches?
  • Is it normal for my back to hurt?
  • Is it normal to feel dizzy?

The list can go on and on.

And, although I may not be able to address every possible scenario, what if I shared some breathwork fundamentals that cover a lot of ground?

Shall I show you now?

Be Gentle

Imagine going to the gym for the first time ever in your life.

Now imagine grabbing the heaviest dumbbell possible and trying to use it for your workout.

How do you think that would turn out?

My guess would be ... probably not super great. 

It's because you have to work your way up to the heavier weights. And on your way up, you've got to make sure your technique is good and that you're ready for the next level.

The same thing applies to your breathwork. Start very modestly at first. Let your body adapt. Then GRADUALLY build.

Easy, right?

Nasal Breathe

Breathing through your nose will automatically make your breathing more gentle because the amount of air you take in is reduced.

The slower breathing lends itself to soothing your nervous system and getting more oxygen into your body.

If nasal breathing is difficult, check out this helpful blog to see if these techniques help.

Breathing through your nose also lends itself to diaphragmatic breathing (aka belly breathing) which helps make your breathing deeper and more efficient.

Stretch

Make sure your breathing mechanism is "rust-free" and mobile.

This will help facilitate smoother, easier breathing.

Try these stretches:

Sit up tall.

First - Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep your arms by your side. It should look like you're holding an invisible box.

Inhale (through your nose) and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale and gently return to the starting position. Repeat this until you feel the benefit. You should feel your ribcage expand on the inhale and shrink on the exhale.

Second - Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and raise your arms parallel to the ground. 

Inhale (through your nose) and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale and gently return to the starting position. Repeat this until you feel the benefit. You should feel your ribcage expand on the inhale and shrink on the exhale.

Of course, be mindful and make sure everything feels okay. Never force.

Take Action

"Am I breathing right?"

Now you have a solid starting point to help you build your technique.

One of my favorite breathwork programs is called SOMA BreathFIT. It takes you step-by-step to help you make your breathing more effecient. You'll have access to easy-to-follow instructional videos, daily homework, audio downloads, and more. I recommend BreathFIT to students and clients all the time because it's a program that works.

Make a commitment to try the techniques listed in this blog to see if your headaches, dizziness, and other nagging symptoms go away. 

You've got this!

Brian, Co-Owner, Winter Garden Yoga

Check out SOMA's BreathFIT Challenge. This is a great introduction to receive the powerful benefits of breathwork.
 
Check out SOMA's 21-Day Awakening here. This is the program that inspired me to become a SOMA Breathwork Instructor.
 
Click here to become a SOMA Instructor. Even if you don't want to teach, you'll learn a ton of interesting, useful content to make your life more awesome-er ;)
 
If you want to take the fast track, and put my decades of experience to work, via ZOOM, click here and scroll down to see your options.