Morning Breathing Practice
Do you start your day stressed? Experience the power of morning breathing practice and transform your mornings.
Morning breathing practice can transform the way you start your day. In a world where stress is a daily occurrence, taking care of your conscious breathing in the morning allows you to gain peace of mind and focus on the challenges ahead.
Some of us don’t pay much attention to an intrinsic aspect of our lives, which is our breathing—when everything is working properly. We breathe without any problems, and then suddenly… We get a runny nose and stuffy nose. Not very pleasant, isn’t it? When we finally recover, we appreciate the fact that we can breathe freely. We know that we need breath to function (properly). However, do we know how to practice the various forms of breathing so that they support us during various events? A stressful situation, physical exertion, meditation — we adjust our breathing to each of these circumstances in a more or less conscious way. Thanks to it, we can stimulate or calm our body, thoughts, and even heart.
But how do you do that? This is a good time to stop for a moment, catch your breath and read how breathing practice affects our lives.
Table of contents
- Wim Hof and the benefits of breathing practice
- Tips for beginners
- Step-by-step practice
Wim Hof and the benefits of breathing practice
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a marathon through the desert without drinking water, or swimming in ice water for almost two hours. It sounds unbelievable, but such achievements can be boasted by Wim Hof, known as the “Iceman”. He developed a breathing practice that allows a person to achieve amazing things. According to the Wim Hof Method, this technique offers the following possibilities: to reduce stress levels, increase energy, increase focus and determination, strengthen the immune system, and increase/stimulate/intensify/”crank” willpower.
The benefits that are already supported by scientific evidence are:
- anti-inflammatory effect;
- reduction of flu-like symptoms;
- increased levels of neurotransmitters of the nervous system (which affect a better mood);
- Improving oxygen delivery during exercise.
Researchers are still investigating how Hof’s breathing practices affect brain function and metabolic activity, physical endurance, mental health, the immune system, inflammation, and pain perception.
Tips for beginners
Every adventure begins with the first step. So, if you’ve never practiced breathing techniques or have been exposed to the Wim Hof method, here are some useful tips:
- If you can’t breathe through your nose for various reasons, then mouth breathing is perfectly allowed;
- relax your jaw, neck and shoulder muscles, otherwise you may experience tension headaches;
- it doesn’t matter/it’s crucial how long you hold your breath;
think positively and reject negativity;
- Memorize the words: abdomen, chest, and head as you inhale; this will remind you to use your full lung capacity;
- Use the breath hold phase to listen to your own thoughts and your body’s reactions.
Breathing with the WIm Hof Method (abbreviated WHM) is extremely simple. This technique is primarily based on deep inhalation and exhalation without the use of force. Just follow the steps below. We recommend that you exercise as soon as you wake up or before a meal when your stomach is still empty. It is important to note that WHM breathing can affect motor skills, so you should sit or lie down before practicing. In addition, it is worth paying attention to the way we breathe. Many people use the top of their lungs when they inhale, leading to shallow breathing. During WHM practice, the diaphragm is also involved so that the lower part of the lungs is filled. The abdomen, on the other hand, should rise when you inhale and lower when you exhale.
Let’s do it!
Step 1: Sit comfortably
Adopt a meditative posture: sitting or lying down, whichever is more comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any pressure.
Step 2: 30-40 deep breaths
Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be aware of your breath and try to fully connect with it. Inhale deeply through your nose or mouth and exhale through your mouth without force. Inhale fully to lift your belly, then your chest, and finally exhale without force. Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short but powerful bursts. You may feel dizziness, tingling in your fingers or feet, but these side effects are completely harmless.
Step 3: Holding
After the last exhale, take one last breath, as deep as you can. Then exhale and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the need to breathe again.
Step 4: Restorative breath
When you feel the need to breathe again, take one big breath to fill your lungs. Feel your abdomen and chest expand. When you’re at your best, hold your breath for about 15 seconds and then let go. This concludes “round number one”.
The cycle can be repeated 3-4 times continuously. Once you’ve finished your breathing exercise, take a moment to bask in the bliss. This calm state is very conducive to meditation — don’t hesitate to combine the two. However, if you find it easier to follow the above recommendations by listening rather than reading, then Wim Hof has created an audiovisual guide that helps you maintain your pace and rhythm during a breathing session (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tybOi4hjZFQ). On the recording, you will hear Wim’s commands and breathing, which will help you calm your surroundings and focus solely on your breathing. It’s extremely intuitive, so you don’t have to worry about doing something wrong.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been training for a long time or this was your first encounter with breathing technique. It is important to remember how important proper air circulation is in the human body and how it affects our daily functioning and life.