Yoga

Breath Series: Coherent Breathing

In one of my first posts, I was suggesting as a gift for a yogi friend a specific book about breathing: The Healing Power of the Breath by Richard Brown.

I came across this book during my 200 hours of teacher training. I have to admit, in the beginning, I wasn’t really interested in it. I felt it was overwhelming, too many types of breathing for a person that never actually looked into it. Then, during my last days of training, after a couple of exercises, I realized how important breathing is.

I started to re-read the book and now I want to share with you some techniques. I’m going to start a series over here in which I’m going to present my favorite breathing techniques, their benefits and when you should use them.

Today we’ll start with COHERENT BREATHING.

This breathing technique helps the brain shifting into a healthier balance by activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (the healing, calming part of the nervous system) while quietening the Sympathetic Nervous System (the defensive, energy burning part). So, rather than amplifying a “fight or flight response”, our brain gets rewired into a “rest and digest mood”.

BENEFITS

  • stress resilience
  • calming mind
  • cardiovascular system flexibility (better Heart Rate Variable).

Having a higher Heart Rate Variable (HRV) is associated with a:

  • healthier cardiovascular system,
  • more balance and resilient stress-response system
  • greater health and longevity.

Coherent Breathing means breathing at a rate of 5 breaths per minute.

This rate maximizes the HRV rate for most people, but it can be difficult at the beginning. That’s why it’s better to start with beginners practice steps.

HOW TO COHERENT BREATHING

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable, supported position
  • Close your eyes
  • Close your mouth
  • Breathe through your nose
  • Focus your attention on feeling the breath move in and out through your nose and airways to your lungs. When other thoughts enter your mind, just let them float through and refocus your attention on the breathing sensations
  • Breathing should be slow, gentle, comfortable, not forced in any way.

At the beginning of your Coherent Breathing practice, it is better to start with steps that will help you slow down your heart rate.

  • Breathe through your nose with your eyes closed.
  • Taking your time, count slowly and silently in your mind: As you breathe in, . . . 2 . . . As you breathe out . . . 2 . . . Repeat this for two breaths.
  • Taking your time, count slowly: As you breathe in . . . 2. . . 3 . . . As you breathe out, . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . Repeat this for three breaths.
  • Taking your time, count slowly: As you breathe in . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . As you breathe out . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . Repeat this for four breaths.
  • Taking your time, count a little more slowly: As you breathe in . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . As you breathe out . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . Repeat this for four breaths.

I suggest you to watch this video too. It really helps setting the times.

When the ball goes down INHALE, when the ball goes up EXHALE.

Coherent Breathing can be used for people struggling with:

  • trouble sleeping
  • anxiety
  • daily activities that can trigger stress

Start with 5-10 minutes of Coherent Breathing once or twice a day, and gradually increase up to 20 minutes. The body and the mind get benefits right way, feeling calmer and more relaxed.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write me on social medias or down here. Remember to breath can be difficult sometimes, caught up in our daily life we forget that we can slow down our breath and feel way better than before.

Hope this has been helpful.

Love,

Elena.

26 years old Italian living in Spain. Yoga teacher and health coach with a passion for writing, traveling and learning.

One Comment

  • Forex Watchers

    In medical literature there is a term given to the understood but little recognized wave action as observed in the arterial system as a function of breathing. It is called the “respiratory arterial pressure wave”. There is also a relatively obscure term for a wave phenomenon in the venous system – the “venous wave”. However, there is no term for the wholistic “circulatory” phenomenon, arterial and venous, emphasis alternating with exhalation and inhalation respectively. Antonio Valsalva (circa 1600), an early physiologist, is said to have observed changes in the jugular vein as a function of respiration, making him one of the earliest Western observers of the interaction between breathing and blood flow. Stephen Elliott and Dr. Bob Grove (J J Engineering) coined the name Valsalva Wave to describe the wholistic circulatory phenomenon, A for arterial and V for venous.

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