Breathing is taken for granted and most people think it comes naturally and from the chest. In fact, I myself thought that the lungs push the chest upwards, which explains the chest movement up and down.
But as hard as we try to breathe the conventional way we tend to feel “tired” from breathing at the end of a work day especially if you are like me a network engineer or a person who is sitting for a long time in a desk/office. And you probably experience the following symptoms:
- sense of culminated stress
- sense of fatigue/drowsiness at the end of the day
- loss of appetite.
I tried one day and I practiced deep breathing the whole day. I mean, inhale slowly with my nose until my lungs are full and exhale totally through my mouth until my lungs are “empty” and my stomach is stressed.
Does it have benefits? I totally agree:
– I felt more focused on what is most important to me at one time,
– I could work steadily without feeling tired,
– I did not feel depressed or anxious,
– I had bright ideas popping out of my head,
– I felt more confident about my abilities and my future
– I felt I can enjoy my life more.
So this has worked for me despite being only for one day.
Being fed up from getting “tired” from breathing, I decided to make a quick search. I found out our breathing mechanism is originally based on the belly, thus the name “belly breathing”.
Instead of thinking in an extreme way and quitting you job under the excuse that it damages your breathing pattern, you could teach your body how to breathe correctly by learning belly breathing techniques.
I enrolled in a breathing course developed by Michaël Bijker. In his bestseller I was learning some exercises to consciously reprogram my body to breathe correctly.
The course begins with the Full Body Breathing exercise. Here you learn to shift the breathing center from your shoulders to your belly. I just completed it and I felt relaxed and peaceful.
The exercise is performed by Michael himself accompanied by his narrative voice.
It is a complete 15 hours of breathing exercises that you can perform at your own pace. I intend to practice some of them especially after coming home from work, because during office work I forget to concentrate on my breathing. Therefore I unconsciously revert back to the false chest breathing.
Update on August 1st: I also got a copy of Breathing, The Masterkey to Self Healing, by Andrew Weil. I did two “breath works” and I felt very drowsy and thoughtless. I was a little sweating and felt some kind of white noise in my ears, like coming from a hard rock concert. This confirms the power of deep breathing. So Since I’m coming from an emotional breakdown, I’m going to incorporate at least 10mn of meditation/focused breathing before sleep each day.
It may take some effort to monitor oneself breathing pattern. But it will definitely pay off in terms of increased energy, calmness and focus.
Update 2021: I’ve written about a new breathing technique developed by Wim Hof.