If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate of better breathing.
There is simply no easier or more comprehensive way to boost whatever performance marker you care to mention than by better breathing, using the appropriate breathing technique for the task and ensuring you are not only using the diaphragm to drive the breath, but you’re also getting the optimal gas exchange across the alveoli in the lungs, and able to transport the oxygen to and waste away from the cells efficiently and effectively.
And that is probably the longest sentence I’ve ever written in a blog post!
You can go about 3 weeks without food You can go about 3 days without water You can go about 3 minutes without oxygen
That ought to help you see why prioritising breathing is important.
Now, a few years ago I met Patrick McKeown, one of the worlds top experts on Buteyko breathing. Pat teaches the work of Dr Konstantin Buteyko, a Russian Doctor who first spotted the correlation between breathing rate and disease.
Essentially, Buteyko teaches you to:
1: Breathe through your nose, which is Homo Sapiens default breathing apparatus 2: Breathe LESS volume of air 3: Develop a better tolerance to CO2 build up
This video clip is Laird Hamilton talking to Joe Rogan on breathing:
Now, ignore Laird stumbling over the science, there’s a link to Patrick McKeowns work below.
Instead, listen to how Laird talks about how he feels, how it affects performance, If you don’t know who Laird is, he’s the dude surfing the wave in the image above. He’s considered to be probably the greatest surfer who ever lived. The guy that more or less invented Big Wave surfing, came up with the concept of the tow in that allowed you onto bigger and bigger waves.
He is surfing’s Alex Honnold, Muhammad Ali, Usain Bolt. He’s not a scientist, so forgive the bro-esque nature of the conversation, but he is all about performance. And if you have ever been out in any sizeable waves, you know how important breathing is! Here’s his Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laird_Hamilton
So, back to breathing appropriate to the task, I’ve covered that in a previous blog post here:
Book mark that Instruction Manual, better yet, print it out.
Last point before this blog turns into an eBook…..
Meet the Vagus Nerve:
Vagus Nerve, lit. Wandering Nerve
That fella is the shortcut to toning down your stress response. Of bringing the Parasympathetic Nervous System online which turns down the Sympathetic Side.
The parasympathetic is the “rest & digest” side of the nervous system, rather than the adrenalised, high speed sympathetic. As you exhale with your diaphragm, you press and stimulate the vagus nerve, this calms the system. Using the mechanism we can better deal with stress, keep a clearer head under fatigue, recover faster from high intensity activity and actually switch off after a rough day at work.
Like I said at the start, there is NO better way to improve every performance marker than to breathe well.
And it starts with your all day every day breathing pattern, which should be all through the nose as mentioned by Laird in the video, as studied by Dr Buteyko and and as written about by Patrick McKeown in his books, which you can see using my amazon affiliate link here:
Pat McKeown on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JZl60O
Now, close your mouth and breeeeeathe…