The Key Habit - Manual vs Automatic Breathing
What’s the difference between breathing automatically versus breathing manually? In this post and podcast episode, you’ll discover the key habit – how to breathe manually to help boost your energy, create a sense of space from within and harmonise the systems in the body.
Breathing is the only mechanism in the body that is both conscious and unconscious. Left unchecked, you’ll just breath. Alternatively, you can intervene and take control of your breathing, which, funnily enough, you can’t do with any other systems in your body. For example, you can’t yet ‘think’ your heart to beat faster and you don’t yet have the ability to ‘think’ your stomach to start digesting food.
So breathing is something that’s right there, it’s right under your nose.
But why would you want to take your breathing into manual drive?
Breathing manually ‘creates space’. This is our favourite reason because it’s such a powerful tool to have.
If you’re a parent, have a business and are feeling ‘suffocated’ or in one of those moods where you just ‘need space’, use the breathe to create space within yourself. There’s a mechanical aspect to it, but also a cellular aspect and a mental, emotional and mind-body system aspect to it.
Breathing crosses into all those broad areas. Even if we talk about it from the physical sense of getting more oxygen into your body, it’s going to create space in the cells, or it’s going to open up and bring air into those areas.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that there’s a lot of tension in people today such as physical tensions, aches and pains, muscle tension or [fill in the blank]. Not to mention, mental and emotional stress. So by creating space we also mean releasing tension from the body.
We’ll elaborate more on this in future posts and podcast episodes.
While oxygenation is an obvious benefit of breathing, few people understand the impact that has.
Oxygen is a basic building block of the body. It makes sense that you want to have a system that is efficient at not only getting the oxygen in but then getting the oxygen from your blood into the tissues. This is done via a process that involves both O2 and CO2, it’s quite a complex process. However, it’s quite simple to understand.
You need a balance of these gases in your body in order to get the oxygen into the tissues. From a health perspective or from a well-being perspective, more oxygen into your tissues equals more energy. And that leads into looking at breathing as being a source of energy for you.
A few words on pH levels and common hacks to adjust them, such as green drinks, pH balance water, etc.
We’re not saying to stop using balance water or green drinks to reset pH levels but just understand that neither of these are as effective as breathing.
Your breathing – inhaling and exhaling – changes your blood pH faster than anything else. It changes up faster than trying to drink five litres of pH balanced water. It changes up faster than any green alkalising drinks.
And it’s free.
Harmonising the body
Oxygen is a source of energy. If oxygen levels in the body drop below 60%, the body starts fermenting sugar for energy in order to refuel. The body is very clever in doing this but it is lower grade energy and if you can avoid it by being more oxygenated you are better to do so.
The breathing mechanism also harmonises the central nervous system and the endocrine system, the system that controls your hormones. Harmonising and getting all the systems into a rhythm and getting an effective current of life flowing through your body is essentially the foundation of good health.
Realising unrealised potential
Breathing is probably the most underutilised system that you have in your body, even though it’s right under your nose. Because it happens automatically – it’s the first thing you did when you were born and will be the last thing you do before you die – most of us take it for granted.
But it’s without a doubt the most powerful ‘change agent’ you have at your disposal. Even just three minutes of conscious breathing can have a dramatic impact on your state.
The Power of Three – 3 minutes, 3 techniques
For an experience of manual breathing and the impact it can have, listen to the exercise in this podcast episode at the 12 minute mark (see audio above).In that exercise we walk you through the three fundamental techniques of triangular, square and circular breathing. Triangular breathing involves a breath in, a breath out and then a pause in a continuous cycle. Square breathing – breath in, pause, breath out, pause, repeat. And circular breathing – breath in, breath out, repeat (i.e. no pauses).
Every breathing exercise you do will involve different variations on these. Most of us do triangular breathing unconsciously anyway but bringing attention to it, doing it consciously, has a very different impact.
Master these and you have the foundations of a powerful key habit.
And if you want to reinforce that, do what we do and scatter some egg timers around the house. Use these as triggers and tools to remind you of ‘The Power of Three’ or P3 as we call it. 3 minute breathing exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime to change your state.
We’ll be talking a lot more about P3 in coming posts an episodes, but once you’ve done the exercise above, feel free to play with it. Try it over 6, 9 or 12 minutes to see what happens. Play with each of the three techniques to see if they have different impacts on you.
And if you haven’t already, please come over and join our private Breathing Edge Facebook group. We’ve got a vibrant and growing community of people from all walks of life using the breath to get peak performance in all areas of their life. We’d love to have you join us.