Jason Hyde

Latest trend alert: Breathing

In recent years two things have become clear. For one, having a healthy planet is important to sustain healthy lives on it (and human practices are making our planet anything but healthy) and for another, nutrition is key for a lot of bodily functions to operate correctly, your are what you eat, it seems.

And of course we can find validation in these research topics and all of them hold some truth to it, yet they are catalogued on the “FAD” folder for a while. You can see it all over the Internet “Gut healing: the new fad diet “and what not. We choose to believe all these findings are more steps in the eternal path of knowing more about the human body and what makes it tick.

Enter the new “fad diet” except it’s not a diet: it’s air. You’d think we’re going to talk about air filters and purifiers right? But the matter of fact is this is not about the quality of the air but how we inhale and exhale it.

For a few decades we’ve become more aware of how breathing techniques can improve our lives. Through yoga, meditation and even giving birth and parenting styles, we can learn how different types of breathing help improve different moments of our lives.

There are a few of these books that claim you can retrain your body to breathe differently always. Yes, not only for exact periods of time or during specific activities, but all the time, even when we’re sleeping. This book called “Breathe: The New Science of a lost art” by James Nestor wants to take your oxygen intake to the next level.

In his book, Nestor claims each breath we draw in should take about three seconds, and each breath out should take four. We’ll then continue the same short inhales while lengthening the exhales to a five, six, and seven count as the run progresses” This is actually not far form the breathing count suggested by hypnobirthers for laboring moms. Of course, some experts say it’s impossible to program the body to breathe in another rhythm by default. Yet, there is science proving breathing through one nostril has an effect on the body and breathing through the other one has the opposite effect. Regardless of the scientific base for changing the default way we breathe, something else has become clear after reading Nestor’s book. Americans not only have an overeating problem, but also an over breathing one. Turns out we’re breathing more than the average person should. Which is why introducing slow breathing can make positive changes in our health. Like Nestor says “A last word on slow breathing. It goes by another name: prayer. When Buddhist monks chant their most popular mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, each spoken phrase lasts six seconds, with six seconds to inhale before the chant starts again. The traditional chant of Om, the “sacred sound of the universe” used in Jainism and other traditions, takes six seconds to sing, with a pause of about six seconds to inhale.”

So this week take some slow inhales and count your breaths so you stop wasting time.

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