On my recent vacation cruise I experienced a sudden increase in blood pressure, swelling in my joints and a severe case of bronchitis. Before I knew it I was unable to complete my daily breathing exercises. For the next three weeks I experienced life without the advantage of those exercises. I had jet lag. I was short of breath, unable to sleep and unable to manage my mood and process upsets.
Not feeling well doesn't need to hold you back...
This was the trip of a lifetime. Despite not feeling my best and being unable to create the right energy, I was able to appreciate and enjoy this special occasion. The beauty, the history, the culture, the food and the fact that Elise and I were celebrating our Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.
This experience was life changing. It forced me to evaluate my health in terms of what I do moment to moment to contribute to my own well being and the well-being of others. In this regard the trip was totally worth it and made a huge contribution to the creation of a new life-style that is way more balanced between work and play, rest and relaxation. I have laughingly stated that I want a rematch. I want to go again and be up for physical challenge of doing the work and enjoying the results in every possible way.
In the past year and half I have built a breathing practice that I’ve been doing religiously, two to three times a day. I combine timed exercises, deep inhale and exhale out of the mouth, empty lung and deep clearing breath holds, nasal breathing, performance breathing and cold water/ice baths for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a week.
Overall health benefits
Inhale = Forcefully exhale, pause, and then inhale through your nose for a count of four as you expand your diaphragm.
Hold = Tighten your core and hold for a count of seven.
Exhale = Fire your core as you forcefully expel your breath through the mouth for a count of eight.
Reflection: The rhythm of the breathing will nurture the parasympathetic system (rest/digest) as it works to counteract the sympathetic system (fight/flight). The result? Much more calm, much less turmoil.
Settle down: The right chemistry, blood flow and amount of oxygen distributed in the brain produces an intense feeling of calm–clarity–confidence.
Be Aware: Improved performance. The breathing allows you to be present, mindful of what you want to accomplish and focused on the right emotions and sensations related to proper form and levels of intensity.
Prepare: Breathe to see, feel and rehearse performing at your best.
Execute: Breathe to create the energy to perform with poise, power and accuracy.
Reflection: Your performance will improve as you learn to be calm, make good decisions, rehearse your performance and give your best effort.
Pump = A series of deep in-the-mouth, out-the-mouth breaths that increase energy levels and improve overall mood and disposition.
Clearing = A series of extreme, deep, clearing breaths that allow you to relax before, during and after your performance.
Chill = A series of Pump and Clearing breaths associated with experiencing either a cold shower or sitting in ice–cold water.
Reflection: Work the complete process and achieve what you want. Your performance will improve dramatically as the extreme effect of these experiences creates muscle memory and a conditioned response. The result is an increase in energy level, faster recovery and overall better fitness and health.
When I started writing this blog entry, about a week ago, was the first day I was able to complete my morning breathing in proper fashion. There is no comparison between living with a daily practice in breathing versus living without a daily breathing program. From this day forward I pledge to increase my efforts to coach people in the value of maintaining a breathing program and using your breath all day long to make everything you do better.
For best results a breathing program should be used in conjunction with a GED (Gratitude, Excitement and Devotion) Training Program and your efforts to maintain present moment awareness, mindfulness training and broad and narrow focus/meditation.
The Wim Hof Method
I’m inspired by the teaching of The Iceman, Wim Hof. I find his method of breathing and experiencing the cold being the key to expanding the consciousness needed to perform at my absolute best in all areas of my life. Visit his web site HERE