Our body has a number of different breathing rhythms depending on what we are doing, shorter, quicker breathes when we are physically active or in “fight or flight” mode or longer slower breathes when we are at rest, both are good for us in the right circumstances. The problem many of us find is that our breathing is often sitting on the shorter and quicker rhythms even when we are not physically active, this is because stress puts us into ‘fight or flight’ mode. If we stay in that place for too long other complications start to manifest within our body, like tight, sore muscles, headaches, tiredness, and moodiness to name but a few things. How do we easily get ourselves out of the cycle of stress and minimise or stop those symptoms?
Resting Lung Technique
This type of breathing is completely natural and is something that we all can do but for many of us, our body has forgotten to do. What we find with this technique is once you consciously start using it, the body continues to use it sub-consciously. The impact on the body once you start using this way of breathing is almost immediate, within the first minute the body noticeably relaxes and feels great. The key to this way of breathing is to follow the body’s natural breathing rhythm, there is no hyperventilating, no over filling the lungs and no extreme exhales where we are trying to empty the lungs as much as possible, this technique is very gentle and works like this.1) Put yourself into a comfortable sitting position and relax the shoulders.
2) Take a normal breath in from your stomach area (rather than your chest).
3) Exhale out as normal.
4) Before you breath in again, rest your lungs for the count of 3 and on the 3 breath in again.
5) Repeat steps 2 – 4
How Does It Work
By breathing normally the body is not having to work any harder (as it does when it over or under inflates the lungs) so it can move into a relaxed state much easier. When we wait at the end of a normal exhale for roughly 2 seconds, the body releases endorphins, it is the endorphins that then relax the muscles and help the body relieve any tension within those muscles. With the lungs resting at the end of each exhale the quality of the inbreath is fuller than normal without over extending the lungs allowing the body to be better oxygenated.
When endorphins are released it also breaks any ‘fight or flight’ mode by negating the impact of any cortisol (stress hormone) in the body which in turn allows the heart to relax, the pulse to slow and the blood pressure to return to normal levels. In our brain the impact of cortisol is negated allowing us to think more clearly and ‘feel happier”.
One other positive aspect of this natural breathing technique is the ability for the body to come back into its natural alignment. It does this because the muscles throughout the body are more relaxed, holding significantly less tension which in turn allows all of the body from the skeleton, organs and muscles to move back to their proper positions.
By the time you have finished reading this article you should already be starting to feel the effects of this natural rhythm, its incredible how something so easy can be so effective.