Looking to start in on some breathwork?

Most people are probably like “OK do I really need to practice something I do 20,000 times a day?”

Well, according to the experts, the answer is a resounding yes.

In fact, some estimate that 9 out of 10 people are breathing “incorrectly.”

One thing is for certain; the way we breathe directly influences our brain’s chemistry.

According to a recent study published by Trinity College, there’s an actual physical link between breathing patterns and the brain’s focus network.

A 2015 study found that six months of breath training led to improvements in mental flexibility and cognitive function.

Finally, there is a bulk of research highlighting breath exercises’ ability to combat anxiety, depression, even disease.

So what is “the right way” to breathe?

1. Use your nose.

James Nestor, author of the book Breath: The New Science of the Lost Art, addressed nasal breathing in a recent interview with NPR. 

“The nose filters, heats and treats raw air. Most of us know that. But so many of us don’t realize — at least I didn’t realize — how inhaling through the nose can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies, how it can lower your blood pressure, how it monitors heart rate … even helps store memories,”

2. Use your belly.

As humans, we are belly breathers, like it or not.  

Just above your stomach is a major muscle in the respiration process, the diaphragm. Just as the heart pumps blood to the body, the diaphragm pumps air in and out of our bodies.

When we neglect this process and breathe only with the chest we subject ourselves to a whole host of problems.

3. Practice.

Training ourselves to breathe in the correct way takes practice. Start your breathwork journey by completing the exercise below!