A Tamil adage says that everyone gets a certain number of breaths deposited in their account on birth. You cannot increase or decrease it – but you can efficiently use the remaining balance and get more out of it. Do you know how to get more out of your breath? How to get a higher ROI? Let’s start with the number of breaths per minute.
How Do You Measure The Breaths in Your Breath Bank?
Measure the number of breaths per minute at 4 fixed time slots in a day and do it over one or two weeks and then get the average breath per minute. If the AVERAGE number is more than 12, then you are not very efficient in using your breath balance. If you are more than 18, then you are hyperventilating!
Hyperventilation depletes Co2 from your body. The interesting fact is that Co2 is critical for oxygen absorption in the cells for effective burning of the fuel. If you are hyperventilating, then there is Co2 imbalance and even though you may have a 97% oxygen saturation in your blood, the Oxygen just floats around without being effectively used in burning the fuel.
So, to use Oxygen effectively, you need a good balance of Co2 in your body. Also, as much as you hyperventilate while under stress, the other way is also true. When you hyperventilate, the body assumes you are under stress. You are chronically under stress AND you are not burning the fuel effectively… all due to a simple issue of incorrect breathing!
Slow breathing keeps the right balance between Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen in the body and remember both are needed for the efficient functioning of the body.
“Mind is the King of the senses and Breath is the King of the Mind”, says BKS Iyengar, a renowned Yoga Guru. James Nestor, says that an ideal breathing is 5.5 seconds inhale and 5.5 seconds exhale – so this is 11 seconds and your average number of breaths would also be 5.5 per minute.
Most of the religious prayers/chants/choirs were designed to make you breathe at a rate of around 5.5 to 6 per minute. Such prayer, no wonder, has magical curative powers.
You can practice slow breathing anywhere, any time and privately. Just be conscious of how you breathe! In fact, between every activity, meeting or zoom call, take 5 minutes off and practice conscious slow and deep abdominal breathing, you will do wonders in terms of your productivity.
“If you want to live, follow Eastern Medicine (Yoga, Ayurveda) and if you do not want to die, then follow Western Medicine” – Trainer Brian MacKenzie
This subject is still developing and research is still coming through under the Western Medicine and has been in practice over thousands of years in India by our Yogis.
Western breathing experts like Dr Buteyko, James Nestor and Anders Olsson, etc. have gone on record on the benefits of slow and rhythmic breathing. In fact, Dr Buteyko observes that 80% of the population is chronically hyperventilating!
Breathing is the only tool available to humans to connect to (and influence) their autonomous nervous system and therefore mind. If you develop awareness and therefore, better understanding, you can make breathing more efficient and positively impact your mind. Breathing is the MOST POWERFUL tool humans have. Fascinating isn’t it. But Simple. I average around 8 breaths per minute now and I have personally benefited significantly in terms of overall energy through the day, feeling good and less stressed.
Practices To Help You Achieve Slow Breathing
- Being Conscious of breathing
- Practicing Pranayama – Kapal Bathi, Ujjayi, Pursed lip breathing, Bhastrika
- Breathing using the abdomen than the chest
- Tummo ( Tibetan technique) or Wim Hof method
I am placing a customary caveat for the reader that this is not medical advice and you should consult your doctor. And unfortunately, the western medical system holds that less than 10 breaths per minute is a disease and it has to be cured.
If you want more details, medical and scientific evidence, please read more at https://breathe.ersjournals.com/content/13/4/298
Further read books/podcasts of James Nestor, Brian Mackenzie, Rangan Chatterjee, Anders Olsson
We hope this article helps you improve your breath bank balance. For more on breathing, check out Healthy Reads. To get breathing exercises from your GOQii Coach, subscribe to personalized coaching here: https://goqiiapp.page.link/bsr
Breathe Right & #BeTheForce