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Webinar with Dr. Cobb

Episode 9: A Crash Course in Breathing

Video Highlights

proper breathing technique can reduce pain, decrease stress, improve athletic performance and improve concentration
conscious breathing, or breathing with awareness, is common to virtually all breathing support systems around the world
simple exercises taking just a few minutes each day are the keys to enjoying the benefits of effective breathing

Hi everybody, Dr. Cobb here.

Today we’re on the topic of breathing.

Now, we’ve been talking about how small things that you focus on can make huge differences in your life. Working on having better breathing mechanics and a better respiratory system in general, may be the highest priority thing that you can look at because we breathe somewhere around 20,000 – 24,000 times a day

If you breathe incorrectly, it has huge consequences. Conversely, learning to breathe better, learning to breathe well can pay off in so many different ways.

It can improve pain. In other words, if you have pain kind of chronically in your body, learning better breathing may help you not only decrease it but even get rid of it.

It can decrease stress; it can improve your ability to handle all those things that get thrown at you on a daily basis.

It can improve athletic performance. Breathing is a cornerstone of high-level athletes or breathing well is a cornerstone, and so really working on your breathing mechanics can improve your tennis game, your golf game, anything else that you’re involved in.

Number four, it can improve your concentration. Think about this, your brain is fueled by a mixture of blood gases-oxygen and carbon dioxide and if you breathe properly, you can provide better fuel to your brain, which has huge ramifications for how you think.

Better breathing-better performance, bad breathing-worse performance. It’s a really simple concept. The question becomes how do I work on it?

If you look around the world, there are hundreds, literally hundreds of different breathing systems out there. If you look behind the scenes and kind of peel back the curtain, what you find is that all the breathing systems out there really have one thing in common, which is getting you to consciously focus on your breathing, rather than just having it happen automatically.

Breathing in general is an unconscious process so what we have to do to change it and improve it is we actually have to think about it. We have to focus on it. I’m going to teach you one simple drill right now that you can use and I’m going to tell you how to apply it in your daily life.

Business man breathing into a paper bag.

The drill is called Box Breathing and the whole idea is that a box or a square has equal sides. We want to think about a square. The idea is that we’re going to breathe in for four seconds, we’re going to hold that breathe for four seconds, we’re going to breathe out for four seconds, hold that exhale for four, and repeat that cycle.

We’ll do it together, start with an inhale,-one, two, three, four, hold-two, three, four. slow exhale, exhale-one, two, three, four, hold-two, three, four. Good, that’s it. That’s a really, really simple way to begin working on breathing.

What you’ll find is that by focusing on the count, it makes you focus on your breathing. We can get into how you’re supposed to be breathing in a different blog at some point, in terms of abdominal versus chest breathing. The major factor right now is just learning to count as you do your different breaths. You’ll find that if you take that inhale, and holding your breathe with the inhale for four seconds is really easy.

What a lot of people struggle with is after the exhale and then holding there for four seconds. That is probably, of the four portions of the square, that’s the most important, the holding after the exhale. I really want you to focus on that. How do you apply this?

What I’d like for you to do is start off with two sessions each day whenever possible. Aim to complete ten repetitions around the box twice a day. It’s ideal you do this when you’re starting to feel a little stressed because what you’ll find, is that as long as you can do it comfortably and relax into it, it will actually decrease your stress, decrease your overall body tension.

Last thing I want to mention is just safety. As you’re doing this, in the beginning do it seated first. Some people can get a little bit light-headed. If you begin to get dizzy or have anything like that occur, just stop. You can also reduce the amount of time; you can breathe in for two, just turn it into two versus four seconds.

The idea is just the square and you can manipulate the times based off comfort level. Start applying this; start with like I said; ten repetitions around the box twice a day. If possible, over time, work up to 30. That simple one little thing, it will take you about six minutes, total. Over the course of a day it can pay huge dividends because what will happen, over time not only will you feel better, you’ll begin noticing your breathing throughout the day and continue to correct it whenever it begins to go haywire.

There you go, small thing to work on; big, big results.

Next we get together we’re going to talk a little bit more about small things that can make big differences and give you a couple little drills to focus on.

Have a great week.

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