Hello competitive exercisers,
Have you ever been out of Breath during a WOD? Stupid question right. Of course you have. If you haven’t, then you are an X-man. Being out of Breath, or hard of Breathing is one of those stimuli that we expect to experience during a workout. It is uncomfortable and not very pleasant. It is an indicator that we are working at an intense level, that the body is burning through oxygen and that energy processes are taking place inside our body to fuel our work capacity. Being out of Breath slows us down, or causes us to stop.
Outside of workouts, (for most of us) Breathing is something we take for granted and don’t really think about. Just like the beating of our heart, digestion, and body temperature, Breathing is regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System – it happens automatically without a person’s conscious effort.
But what if I told you that through different Breathing techniques, you could control things like body temperature, hormone levels in your body, stress and relaxation states, even your health. What if you could increase the amount of oxygen in your body to promote more optimal conditions for your organs, muscles, even cells to function in.
It is possible.
I have known the power of Breathing for many years but I will be the first to admit, I have let it fall by the wayside. Through meditation, Yoga, and martial arts, I have come across many different iterations of a conscious Breathing practice and they have all come down to one thing – Mindfulness.
As many of you know, Johanna is a Yoga Teacher and her practice has always focussed on the Breath. Through a mindful practice, where the EGO is not in control, and where you move with your Breath, great results for the mind, body and spirit can be attained.
Through mindful Breathing we can create stability, improve flexibility, engage in a flow state, and calm the mind. Breath can create stillness – a moment in time when nothing else matters but the simple act of Breathing in…….and Breathing out.
I have experienced many occasions through Yoga and Breathing an almost mystical state of calm and openness; where the stresses of daily life were inconsequential; where perspective was gained on what really matters; and where the mind and body were reset to continue on my day.
A “conscious” or mindful practice of Breathing is important for us all.
We all lead busy lives and with social media, it feels like we are forever connected to the outside world. It is always Go, Go, Go! We have work, kids, pets, TV, Facebook, housework, meeting friends, driving in cars, catching the train, deadlines to meet, etc etc etc…… Did you know there are 1440 minutes in a day? Do you think you could take 10, even 5 minutes out of that total to just switch off and reset? If you really wanted to, you could.
Yoga is something we would like to reintroduce to you all in the near future to promote a balanced and holistic approach to your desire for wellness, happiness and fitness. In the meantime though, we are going to teach you something yo can do on your own, at home or work.
Next Tuesday night, during the “Talon” session, Liam is going to teach you guys a really simple Breathing technique that can have quite a profound and positive impact on your lives. I have mentioned it before and I know Liam has introduced some of you to the technique. It is called the Wim Hof Method (WHM). It was created by an old Dutch guy (who still lives today) named Wim Hof. There’s a really interesting back story to Wim Hof and his method which you can learn about here:
In a nutshell, you are going to do 3 rounds of inhaling fully and deeply, and exhaling comfortably, 30 times. You are going to flood the body right down to the cells with oxygen. After the 30th Breath you are going to stop Breathing (hold your Breath) for as long as you can. The deliberate act of Breathing in fully fills your body with so much oxygen that you can stop Breathing……for far longer than you think you can, and the body will just carry on doing what it has to do. During this process you will have increased the pH levels in your body – alkalized your body as opposed to making your body acidic which is a state that our modern day lifestyles promote (acidity in the body has been known to cause inflammation, which in turn has been the root of many illnesses and dysfunctions). A consistent and continued practice of this method can make you healthier, and increase oxygen levels in your body, which for us as CrossFitters, is a really good thing.
There have been numerous research studies carried out on the Wim Hof Method to prove it’s validity and integrity. But you know what, I have found that scientific studies can be manipulated to back up any claim (just look at the Climate Change Debate). What I would say to you is, forget about what other people are saying – try it for yourself and make up your own mind. Taking a small amount of time out of your day to just focus on your Breath can only be a good thing, even if it does not make you stronger, or prevent illness and disease. It will give you a a window of time when all of the other stuff going on in your life just does not matter. The only thing that matters is the Breath.
Come in next Tuesday night at 7.15pm to Breathe. We will do this for about 30 minutes then hit a fun team workout afterwards. Please do not be late.