Why we sigh
Do you ever sigh in frustration? Do you know why your boy does that? Because breathing out all the oxygen in your system is one of the ways the body recalibrates into relaxation.
Most of us don’t think about sighing, we just do it. But if you want to deeply relax and feel good, consciously holding your breath out for a few moments will do just that.
Breath holds are a powerful way of taking charge of yourself. They can be done by either holding all the air OUT of your lungs and/or holding all the air IN your lungs. Both are valuable, but when you hold the air out of your lungs for any length of time, it rebalances the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body in a way that encourages that oxygen to download into the cells, creating greater health and relaxation.
Why Breath Holds Are Powerful
The protocol I’m going to teach you today is all about learning how to do a breath hold. It’s fashioned after the work of Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, a Russian doctor who developed a method in the 1950’s (The Buteyko Method) that involved breathing in LESS air which studies have shown will dramatically improve symptoms of asthma and anxiety and other health conditions.
Although we’ve all been taught that oxygen is what we want to get more of, Buteyko and many other lung specialists believe that many people suffer from over breathing and take in too much oxygen, which can easily happen if you breathe through your mouth. By breathing more slowly and through your nose and pausing after the exhale without breathing in again right away, this allows a person to bask in a state that’s carbon dioxide rich, which leads to deep relaxation and well-being.
This breath hold isn’t exactly the Buteyko method, but one that will give you an opportunity to try out what it’s like and check out what it does. Please don’t do it if you have heart or lung conditions.
I often do this protocol just because it feels great, but I did it earlier today because I’d been lifting some heavy stones when I was gardening and had a lot of neck tension and a slight headache. I did this protocol and within a few minutes felt my entire upper body fill with energy and warmth and my headache disappeared.
How To Do A Breath Hold
Here’s how to do it.
Take several deep breaths, breathing in your nose and then sighing the air out your mouth.
After about 5 or 6 of these breaths, the next time you breathe out, let yourself go for several seconds without refilling your lungs.
Breathe in again fully when you have a strong need to do so, but don’t wait until you feel desperate.
Return to some deep breaths, in your nose and out your mouth. When you feel ready, repeat the above steps over and over, for 5 – 15 minutes.
When you’re done, notice the difference in how you feel.
Each Time Gets Easier
You’ll notice that each time you hold out your breath, it gets easier to go longer with your lungs empty. Most people can barely hold their breathe out for more than 10 seconds at the start but often after several rounds, can go for an entire minute without bringing in air. (You can tell how long you are not breathing by counting the length of time that your lungs are empty.) Your ability to rest without air will also increase the more frequently you do the protocol.
Try this out. It’s a powerful tool to have in your repertoire!