Breathing Exercises: The Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Breathing Exercises: The Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Our Collective Insights podcast guests, Dr. Andrew Weil, Amy Shenk Morrison, Mark Divine and Brian MacKenzie, share their insights on breathing exercises. They share that nasal breathing combats overactive sympathetic nervous system activity and leads to a mind that is more relaxed, focused and effective. Read on to learn more about why and how to do breathwork.

Listen to Collective Insights wherever you get your podcasts.

Andrew Weil, MD - Stress Reduction, Psychedelics and Breathwork: Exploring Integrative Medicine

The Theory and Impact of Breathing Exercises

"The theory of breathwork is that since this is the only thing you can do both consciously and unconsciously, and you’re using two different sets of nerves and muscles (voluntary ones and involuntary ones,) it gives you the chance to change the function of the involuntary nervous system. The theory is by using your voluntary system to impose rhythms on the breath, gradually you induce those in the involuntary nervous system. This is the relaxation response. This combats overactive sympathetic nervous system activity, which is very common in our population. 

The results that I’ve seen from this are amazing. It is the most effective anti-anxiety measure I’ve come across. It makes our drugs look pathetic. I’ve seen people who have had cold hands all of their lives now have warm hands and people who have had digestive problems that have now resolved. It’s a really good thing to do." -Dr. Weil on the Collective Insights podcast

Amy Shenk Morrison - How to Improve Your Fitness Starting with Mental Health

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Breathing

"What’s happening in your diaphragm when you breathe? What’s happening in your rib cage? Do you have any expansion at all? Are you using your nose? Are you using your nose in the way its meant to be used to be able to facilitate breath that is filtered, warmed up for your lungs, and it actually kind of restricts the amount of is that gets into your lungs, so that you can alter your blood gases as well.

Just simply choosing to do that impacts your mental state.  If you think about all of those beautiful pieces, they combine in a really interesting way." -Amy Shenk Morrison on the Collective Insights Podcast

Brian MacKenzie - Extinguishing Fear When it Really Matters by Altering Breath and Vision

Nasal Breathing for Parasympathetic Engagement in Athletes

"If you use strength and conditioning, you can make an athlete stronger, they start to move a little better and we start to see positive responses. I stumbled upon some breathing devices and people who are using breathing, and looked back on experience in the yoga world. I started to connect dots that breathing patterns actually matter. 

The diaphragm actually working correctly innervates parasympathetic tone. We see that they’re all connected, thus it moves into if I’m more parasympathetically engaged, if I’m using a breathing pattern that is doing that, then I’m actually altering or buffering that physiological response that could be happening if I were more sympathetic dominant. 

Take an athlete who is obviously in an aerobic place, but they are mouth breathing heavy. We tend to see more of that sympathetic cascade get set off and we start to see somebody who is in a compromised position. When we can change that and bring them more into nasal breathing, it inevitably changes the entire state of the individual." -Brian MacKenzie on the Collective Insights podcast

Mark DivineKokoro Training: The Neurohacking Practices Of The Elite Forces

Box Breathing Technique for Focus

"When training the mind, one thing we focus on is controlling the breath. We will control the physiology, so you can always stay in balance. We teach SEAL candidates the box breathing technique. I pioneered box breathing since 2007 and have taught it to thousands of people, non-warriors and warriors alike. It has a profound effect. If that’s the single practice you do, you learn to control the breath and to be able to breathe through your nostrils, and in that pattern, it will have a profound effect on your health and your mental focusing abilities. We teach them that and we have them practice it every day as part of their physical training before they train and also in the morning and in the evening." -Mark Divine on the Collective Insights podcast


Resources for Breathing Exercises:

Blog: It All Starts out With Our First Breath
Blog: 3 Breathing Methods from Dr. Weil
Blog: Box Breathing: A Breathing Technique to Focus the Mind
Breathwork Coaching: Book an online session with Amy Shenk Morrison

Listen to Collective Insights wherever you get your podcasts.

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