I used to go a whole day (okay, maybe even a couple of days) without even noticing how I was breathing or taking a few moments as I banter away in conversations to focus on a simple cycle of IN and OUT.
Now, if you just took a breathe then this article is on its way to doing its job! If not, take a deep breath and... please read on.
Simply put, the way you breathe sends signals to your brain that you are either safe or in danger. During class you will often hear the trainers talking about breathing or more to the point reminding you to breathe, helping you to send those signals that you are indeed okay. This, I cannot stress enough is your tool to go harder and get stronger faster. Taking the time to consciously breathe with intent is both suddenly grounding and refreshing, and can change your thoughts almost immediately.
So how do we make it more automatic you ask? Practice! Lately, I've been practicing my breathing at the beach using the ocean as my cue. Living near the beach and having kids and a dog who love it the same is such and awesome motivator to get outdoors! And the more attention you pay to your breath the better you get at recognizing when you are not.
Breathing gives your body more control, keeping you calm and alert throughout your workout so you can improve blood circulation and heart health, whilst actively engaging all of your muscles to prevent injury.
You’ll notice in Primal workouts you are encouraged to “stand up tall” to “open your lungs”. This is because it’s a natural response to want to curl over with your hands on knees. This position however is counterproductive through rounded shoulders and a forward head posture because it causes the muscles around the chest to tighten which limits your diaphragmatic movement and causes you to take more rapid, shallow breaths....Cue the “I’m in danger” mind shift.
So next time your in class, try to focus on your breath and see what impact it has on your performance. And when you are not working out we still want to encourage you to rug up and get outdoors to just breathe. Practice the control as much as you can, in the car, before bed or at your desk at work. It doesn't have to be for a long time either. It’s something you know how to do and its free!
Yours in good health,