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Breath to Live!

A Class of People Deep Breathing
Deep Breathing and Relaxation

The title sounds silly. But think about it: only a tiny percentage of us dedicate a portion of our day to using breathing as a tool to enhance our health. If you aren't, you should, and if you are, congratulations!

The premise behind most breathing systems is to make you feel more present and relaxed. Long-term anxiety causes innumerable physical and mental damage. Check out our blog post, The Wild Wide World of Stress, to see how stress affects your life. So, it's in your best interest to manage your stress daily.

Your power is in the present. You can't take action in the past or the future. Stress comes from many factors, but the basic foundation of all stress is fear—fear of the unknown, fear of loss, or fear of success. Stress and anxiety are psychological and physiological responses to fear's friction in your life. Focusing your attention on breathing allows your mind and body to dig their heels into the ground, re-establishing your intention and power.

Many breathing techniques exist, but I want to focus this blog on The Wim Hof Method. Wim has an interesting past and how he came up with his methodology. He and his breathing method have been studied extensively, demonstrating a significant impact on blood chemistry and disease resistance. You can look at this NIH study. I chose Wim's technique because it has a two-prong effect—relaxation and meaningful blood chemistry change, allowing the body to be more resilient against viruses and bacteria. Using his breathing technique, this guy resisted intentional ecoli and COVID-19 poisoning without the onset of symptoms. That's impressive!

Wim Hof sitting in the snow breathing
Wim Hof Breathing Technique

Here are the method's steps:

1.        Lie down (preferred) or sit with your shoulders back and relax.

2.        Close your eyes.

3.        Take a full breath into your belly by expanding your diaphragm and then into your chest. Make sure you fully expand your lungs, enlarging your rib cage. This expansion will engage your vagus nerve, which is vital.

4.        Exhale out 50%-75% of what you inhaled.

5.        Repeat steps three and four thirty times. You will probably feel light-headed or floaty, and your hands tingly.

6.        On the 30th breath, breathe out completely, expelling all air from your lungs, and try not to breathe for 30 seconds to one minute.

7.        Take a full breath into your lungs and hold for ten seconds.

8.        Breathe out and breathe normally for 10-15 seconds.

9.        Repeat 1-8 a total of three times.

At the end of this exercise, you should feel light and relaxed, and your blood has become more alkaline. I typically wake up and move from the bedroom to my living room to avoid disturbing my wife. It's also nice to change venue, cueing the mind and body that it's time to wake up and attack the day. If you need to repeat this later in the day, you only need one series, not three. I usually perform a series right before I go to sleep to expel any residual tension, and I do it while using my Somulis.

Wim doesn't discuss (not that I have found) how his technique engages the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is crucial in regulating stress and mood. As the longest nerve system in the body, it runs from the base of the skull to every organ, including the lungs. You prompt the vagus nerve into action by taking an exaggerated breath and forcing your lungs against your rib cage.

Using Somulis with any breathing technique can enhance your experience. We call Somulis the first Digital SupplementTM because daily use can improve mood, focus, and sleep. Try it. You have nothing to lose but your stress.

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