The Power of the Breath is in the Exhale
Far too often we’re encouraged to take a deep breath in. We humans seem hyper-focused on breathing in. It’s almost as if we’ve lost faith that there’s enough air to go around.
And the interesting thing is, inhalation is simply a reflex. Focusing primarily on breathing in dulls that reflex.
The real power of breathing lies in the exhale. A slow, smooth, and gentle exhale is what strengthens the inhalation reflex and leads to optimal breathing.
Yet so much of modern life can throw even the best breathers among us off our breathing game. After all, life often comes at us fast. And sometimes the wind can get knocked out of us. It becomes easy to fall into the habit of breathing in more than we exhale. And we become over-breathers to our detriment.
When over-breathing becomes our default our breath becomes mechanical and forced. We end up grabbing for air. We breathe shallower than what our bodies need. Exhalation becomes limited. We become limited.
But the good news is there are simple and wonderful ways to begin experiencing the power and magic of your exhale so you can restore and strengthen your breathing. So you can restore and strengthen you.
Below I offer one way to begin Pressing Reset on your breathing. A simply remedy to help you reconnect to the power of your exhale and your natural breathing design.
Then, with the tip of your tongue softly resting on the roof of your mouth (this aids breathing) inhale generously through your nose feeling the coolness of the air as it moves into your nose and across your sinuses.
Exhale nasally or with a whispered number count (or mantra) as my friend, Tim, does here.
Exhale fully but without force. Forcing breath in or out gets in the way of reconnecting to your natural breathing design.
Pause and listen for your body to say, “time to breathe in”. This is the inhalation reflex.
Then allow your inhalation reflex to fill your airways and lungs. Feel the coolness of the air swirl up your nostrils and across your face.
Feel your breath expand into the width and length of your back as your ribcage opens to create space for the inhale.
Then gently exhale again thru your nose or with a whispered number count (or mantra).
Sense your ribcage easily return to its resting position.
Let your breath flow like waves on the beach do, in their own time and rhythm.
Repeat this cycle for a few minutes or as long as you like.
Repeat it as many times as you’d like during the day.
Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about how to breathe better + feel better + move better.
*Carl Stough was a true breathing pioneer. You can find out more about him here https://breathingcoordination.com and here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Stough