A few notes from Jason Donaldson
PSE Director of Training
One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “Where do I start with breath work?”
People know how powerful the breath can be but they’re generally confused. What do I do if I can’t maintain nasal breathing? What if I can’t breathe well through my nose? Should I do a Cadence Protocol before training fo after? What about Apnea? Should I Superventilate between intervals? Should my belly stick out when I breathe in?
The questions are many. The problem is, the answer is very often, “it depends”. This leads to confusion. When we’re confused, we generally opt out and do nothing rather than try to wade through the confusion. What follows is a brief look into my personal breath work journey. It’s my hope that by sharing this, you will have a little better idea of how to apply breath work in your life.
To sum up, here are my 5 tips for getting started with breath work.
1) Be aware of how you are breathing and how that is affecting you and your performance.
2) Breathe through your nose as much as you can. The only time you should be using your mouth is when operating at a very high intensity. And only then, on purpose.
3) Can you inhale and exhale fully without restriction, using your diaphragm? If not, identify where you’re feeling the restriction and address the issue. Is it mobility like a stiff thoracic spine? Is it structural like a deviated septum? Can you feel your diaphragm working?
4) Have a formal, daily breath practice – something you can fit into your everyday life. My formal practice, currently the Apnea Tables, is less than 20 minutes and I slot it in before training. But I still utilize all the other things I have learned about the breath throughout my day. Breathing doesn’t take time off.
5) Take notice of how your breath is affecting your body, your performance and your mental state. Make adjustments as necessary. Your body is an advanced piece of equipment, it will let you know. But you have to tune in.
On a final note, it helps to breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth to enhance your focus. This is especially true when working out when you need to move from one exercise or lift to the next.
Coach Andrew with some great advice from Coach Jason. You can find his full article here.