I first realized that I never really thought about my breathing while climbing a hill during a Spartan 5k Race in Los Angeles. I ran out of breath, or so I thought, and couldn’t crest the top of the hillside. I paused and could not “catch my breath.” As I peeked over the edge of the mountain seeing just how far the bottom was, I knew I needed to get a grip. My Optimize Coach Buddy, David, said to me, “Just focus on your breathing. Which way is your air flowing? Short? Shallow or deep?” At that moment I realized it needed to be deep and I began to really feel my breath. Feel it come through my nose, through the lungs and down into my diaphragm and stomach.
Welcome to the first of a four-part blog post series on breathing. We will be covering the breathing process, breathing exercises, breathing for life, and today a background on the style of breathing that not only can get you over a mountain but can and should sustain your core being.
Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading teachers of the Buteyko Breathing Method which was created in the 1950s by a Russian doctor named Dr. Konstantin Buteyko. McKeown suffered from asthma for decades until he found the Buteyko Method. At which point, he reversed his asthma symptoms and then dedicated his life to helping others optimize their breathing. It’s from his teachings, which I drew from my experiences with Brian Johnson’s Optimize Coach Program, that we will draw from to gain today’s wisdom nugget.
Here is the first thing we need to wrap our brains around: We breathe too much. YES, that is what I said. No typo there. In the next set of blog posts, we will cover the underlying physiology of WHY the way we breathe is sub-optimal then how to go about optimizing. For today, let’s do a quick check on whether YOU over breathe. Here are a few signs that you may be over breathing:
- Do you breathe through your mouth at times as you go about your day?
- How about at night? Do you breathe through your mouth as you sleep?
- Do you snore?
- Do you breathe more from your chest than your abdomen?
- Can you visibly notice and/or hear yourself breathing while at rest?
If you, like most people, answered yes to these questions, you are not alone. Over the next several posts we will cover the optimal breathing process, give you exercises to practice and help you transition your breathing to aid in your development of you and your story.
Interested in one-on-one coaching for breathing, reach out to me here.