Updated: Oct 9, 2021
(cover image stolen from WebMD, source: https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-covid-19-affects-body#1 )
Breathwork is more popular now than it's ever been, which makes me happy.
For years deliberate breathing exercises were sidelined from the mainstream and only really taken seriously by those in the mindful / meditation practices.
But thanks to the works of people like James Nestor, Dr Rangan Chaterjee, Patrick McKeown, Brian MacKenzie and the inimitable Wim Hoff, we're seeing people from all walks of life starting to benefit from better breathing.
My own introduction to the topic was back in my teenage years when my Karate instructor brought us through an exercise he'd learned in a yoga class he'd joined. It's called 4-4-8 breathing, and it is a near perfect start point for anyone looking to reap the benefits of a breath practice.
This video will take you through it:
How simple is that? Breath in for a count of 4 Hold for a count of 4 Exhale for a count of 8 repeat for a period of time, 5 minutes as an example.
If the 4-4-8 is too difficult, try 2-2-4 or 3-3-6 If it's too easy, try 5-5-10, 8-8-16..... The ratio (1:1:2) is the key, not really the numbers. After a few weeks practice, you should notice it getting significantly easier. You may notice that you sleep better, are more relaxed, have better cardio
You may find that your back or neck aches less There's a range of quite definite benefits we'd expect to see, and a bigger list of individual benefits that manifest according to where the individual started from in terms of their overall health. Have a go, and if you do, drop me a line to let me know how it goes.