Consider this: you can go weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breathing.
Whether you’re paleo, keto, vegan, whatever… Surely, by now, you have some frame of reference on what “optimizing” your diet might entail. Something something about whole foods, intermittent fasting, counting macros…
Likewise, you probably have some frame of reference regarding the importance of hydration.
And yet… Minutes without breathing.
Most of the time when I ask members of the gym, “What’s your experience with breathwork?”, I get something along the lines of:
- Nothing, or
- a Wim Hof namedrop
Much like thoughtful training in the gym lends itself to increased functional fitness capacity, intentional breathwork lends itself to a greater capacity to control your state. You can implement certain breath practices to help bring you up — more focused and alert, and you can implement certain breath practices to help bring you down — more calm and relaxed.
While there’s no right or wrong place to start, a great place to bring awareness to your breath is the “Take 5” exercise.
Hold one hand open, palm to the sky. Using the index finger of your other hand, trace from the heel of your palm out to the tip of your thumb as you inhale through your nose, then trace from the tip of your thumb back to the heel of your palm as you exhale through your nose. Repeat four more times, continuing to trace each of your fingers out with an inhale and back with an exhale, all through your nose. If you’d like, you can try to progressively lengthen your exhale with each breath.
Assess how you feel before Take 5, Take 5, then assess how you feel after Take 5.
Remember this: you’re always one intentional breath away from a better state.
10 Hang Power Cleans (95/65)