Learning How to Breathe Properly

Blog
Forrest Walden
February 15, 2017

We’re all about total health at Iron Tribe, which includes physical and mental improvement. And, one of the most overlooked ways to improve your overall health is learning how to breath properly.

Call it prayer, meditation or whatever you want. I’ve found this little technique to be a useful tool that I’ve incorporated into my day. I learned it from from Navy Seal Mark Divine’s book “The Unbeatable Mind,” which is a great read that I highly recommend. He goes into much more detail on what I’ve outlined below, which he calls “the box method” as well as much more.

The reality is most of us don’t breathe properly. We breathe through our mouths with shallow breaths not taking full advantage of our lungs and leaving carbon dioxide “residue” inside our bodies as we take our next breath. We’re also taking way too many breaths a minute when we don’t need to.

This causes all sorts of issues like lightheadedness and chest pain. When you learn this breathing technique, it will not only help negate those effects, but it will also help combat anxiety.

It’s relatively simple. Here are the main points:

1. Breathe in and out through your nose.

Most of us talk too much anyways, so this is an opportunity to close your mouth and spend more time listening!

2. Inhale slowly allowing your belly to expand

This is what actually fills your lungs. once you feel full, take one more breath raising your chest — now your lungs are full.

3. Hold that breath for 5 seconds.

Then release for 5 seconds. Repeat.

4. Practice daily.

Starting with 5 minutes and then up to 10 minutes.

I think the 5 – 10 minutes is a minimum requirement. People certainly do it for much longer, but even in this range you will see positive benefits of relaxation. Especially, in this day in and age it’s hard to carve out more time, but you have no excuse not to make 5 to 10 minutes work daily.

While you do this, focus on your breathing. It helps me to shut down your thoughts and just be still. I think this is important. Maybe it’s the meditation part, but to me it’s just shutting my mind off and all the craziness of the day.

When you do the math, you’ll only be taking in about 5 breaths per minute, which is pretty cool. Do a little experiment and see how many breaths you take in a normal minute. It’s fun to see how efficient our bodies can be when we allow them to.

I’m more relaxed, less stressed and handle my day better.

Practicing this method daily is new to me, but I’m already starting to see the positive benefits. I’m more relaxed, less stressed and handle my day better. Like anything else, the more you do it regularly the more those positive effects are supposed to become pronounced.

So, why do I feel like this is a great way to get in touch with the physical, mental and spiritual aspects that make up you? To start, it’s a cleansing of the mind to just be still and not thinking about anything. Our days are so packed with stuff going on it’s nice to just sit. Physically, you’re taking over your breathing which happens automatically day in and day out. You’re controlling this aspect of your body very specifically. Lastly, it’s also a spiritual endeavor. It’s hard to put into words, but once you try it you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s like chicken soup for the soul.

Give it a shot. What do you have to lose?

Over and out.

Forrest Walden

Forrest is the founder and CEO of Iron Tribe Fitness. He pioneered the brand from his home garage in 2010, quickly franchising the company to include multiple stores throughout the country. He graduated from Auburn University and lives in Homewood, Ala., with his four children and wife, Mendy.