“A brand new idea that’s 2500 years old.” On the one hand, there’s nothing “new” in the current prominence of better breathing seen in the popular media and bestselling books like Breath by James Nestor. On the other hand, science is quantifying common sense and ancient wisdom and encouraging us to take a closer look at the broad importance of this vital function.
What is Better Breathing, and how can it help?
Yes, breathing just happens. Without the need for any conscious intervention, about 18 times a minute, on average, or 25,000 times a day we breathe in and out. The bad news is that the majority of people do not breathe effectively. The good news is that breathing, while innate and automatic, is also a function which can be tweaked and honed like any other skill.
Better Breathing is about understanding the mechanics of breathing in order to get better performance from it, much in the same way as a race car driver knows all the mechanical ins and outs of the machine they operate in order to get the most from it–and to help avoid losing control of it and crashing.
Employing conscious effort to alter one’s breathing pattern when desired can affect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which in turn can affect stress response specifically and overall health broadly. Better breathing practices are a component in choosing how we deal with outer circumstances, and can help bring one back (from hypo or hyper arousal) into the zone of resilience (tolerance). Some practices like resonant breathing (essentially slower breathing) are particularly restorative and have been shown to have effects similar to meditation.
What does this service look like?
Better Breathing is education, instruction and coaching to help you breathe better and enjoy all the benefits that go along with it. Straddling pragmatic breath science and yoga pranayama, “Better Breathing” minimizes the esoteric concepts, emphasizes facts and established studies, to offer a tiered approach to improving this core element of your being.
The foundation is to help you understand what is happening when you breathe, and then building on that with different techniques you can try and experiment with to determine what is most applicable and useful to your life situation. Basically, when it comes to breathing, you will have more tools in your toolbox that you can now consciously decide to pick up and use when and where they are most useful to you.
Who provides you this service?
Neil has, in addition to his own reading & research, studied the physiology of breathing as part of 200-hour yoga teacher training, done related online Yoga International courses, and has completed the Advanced Pranayama & Physiology of Breath Teacher Training through Awakened Spirit Yoga School. Read full bio.
How DO you access this service?
Better Breathing is offered (at the Introductory or Extension level) as one of the experiences to choose from during a Day Retreat. It is also available to guests staying at Off Grid Retreat. View class descriptions here.