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The Power of the Breath

Dear friends,

After running a few retreats and hosting some burnout prevention workshops of late, the running thread across all these events was relaying the message of mindfulness to companies and retreat guests I interacted with.

The new buzz word of mindfulness is very easily used. But 5-10 minutes of just mindfully sitting still and noticing the breath will not have a significant impact on your life. Sorry to be a party pooper.

Yes, it's going to alleviate some symptoms in the short term. But as with all habits, a consistent practice will have a compounding effect in the longterm. Behavourial changes will start to seep into your daily life as your brain starts to take shape and think differently after many months of practice. (More reasoning, less emotion). The science speaks for itself folks!

There is no quick fix solution to healing our bodies and minds. Anyone you encounter that has a sense of balance about them, has prioritised their schedule into creating time. Balance does not find you. You find it. In yoga philosophy, tapas, one of the niyamas, discipline is key in attaining balance in our lives.

Is this an overwhelming thought? Nope, does not have to be. It's all about perspective and accountability. Apps are a great tool to hold yourself accountable for a meditation practice.

What I enjoyed about my wellbeing journey was starting really small. Like REALLY small. I started with 5 minutes of breathwork and then 5 minutes of laying down flat on a mat. That worked for me and just doing this almost every day really built my inner confidence. After a month, I was really digging being still, ALONE!

Breathwork, or what is known as pranayama in yoga, is a brilliant segway into meditation and has measurable results. Your blood pressure, endocrine levels and heart rate will ALL be affected with breathwork.

There are 3 keys areas of breathwork.

  1. The steady breath - This is the sweet spot

  2. The calming breath - Parasympathetic nervous system activated

  3. The heating breath - Sympathetic nervous system activated.

These 3 types of breathing will change your autonomic nervous system response. So which one best to start with?

The steady breath, the sweet spot. For the other ones, just drop me an email and I will respond with techniques for these.

Steady Breath

  • Count of 4 in

  • Hold the breath for 2 seconds

  • Exhale Count of 4

  • Hold the breath 1-2 seconds

  • Repeat

Your breath count will average at a 4-6 breaths per minute. Easy peasy.

This even-breathing technique creates a pattern of regularity in the functioning of the autonomic nervous system by toning down arousal in the sympathetic nervous system.

Practice this for 10 rounds anywhere you want! It's really easy, but some people actually find it difficult to breathe in an even way! Hope this helped. Just BREATH, Mike


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