Seriously? Is that really possible? Let me put it to you this way, if all you did was breathing exercises to enhance your metabolism, your weight loss goals would escape you. However, adding these exercises to a clean diet and exercise program will tremendously increase your results.
Breath work itself constitutes many different forms of breathing alterations. Fast inhale/exhale (hyperventilation), when used during a meditative but conscious state is one example. This can be done with movement as well, such as with Tai Chi and Qigong. There are supposedly many psychological and physical benefits to different breathing exercises. Our purpose today is skyrocketing that metabolism, so let’s get started.
- Learn your breath: Take a deep breath in-yes, right now, do it. Observe what just happened. Did your chest rise and rib cage expand? If so, you are not breathing properly, and probably have been breathing improperly for most of your life. This is a body stress type of breathing. Try again. Take a nice long deep breath and allow your abdomen to expand. This is also known as belly breathing. When your lungs inflate, they push down on your breathing muscle (diaphragm). This push on your abdominal organs causes them to be compressed and expand your belly. Complete a few slow, long breaths making sure your belly expands and contracts with each one. Now we are warmed up.
- Rapid breathing: For this exercise it is best to learn it sitting down so that you are stable. If you are not used to breathing this way, the rush of oxygen to your brain may cause you to feel faint or dizzy. Go at your own pace and take proper precautions. Start by panting, just like a dog basically, but continuing to use your proper breathing techniques from above. Do not use short breaths that do not expand your lungs, deeper panting is better. Complete 30-60 seconds of this, paying attention to your body. If you need to stop sooner, that’s ok.
- Deep breathing: This part of the cycle is similar to the warm up, but the breaths need to be as deep as possible. Start by inhaling through your nose with the belly breathing. Breathe in as deeply as you can for a count of 5. Then slowly exhale at the same pace for a nice slow, controlled count of 5, making sure to eliminate all the air in your lungs. Complete exhalation. Now breathe back in for 5, and back out. Do this part of the cycle for 5-10 total breaths. I personally love to use this part on a walk or run. I typically breathe in and out for 2 counts each while exercising. This is the simplest way to burn even more fat and calories during a normal workout.
- Retained breathing: Maximum metabolizing benefits start here. Take a deep breath in as in 3 above, but this time hold your breath. Start by holding it for 3 seconds and then exhaling and holding for 3 seconds. Increase to hold for 30 seconds on the inhale and 10 seconds on the exhale. Remember the proper belly breathing technique. And again, listen to your body. Breathe when you need to breathe! Repeat the hold 5-10 times. The more the better.
Most people only use about 1/3 of their lung capacity. Because of that, we have poor oxygen exchange in our blood. With the chronically low oxygen exchange, it is hard for cells to efficiently get the nutrients they need. It is also harder to properly detoxify the carbon dioxide. This causes increased appetite, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping. Completing this 4 step cycle daily will not only give you a noticeably clearer head with ease of memory, but will jumpstart your metabolism and boost your energy. The whole cycle will only take you around 5 minutes, and once you get good at it, you can multitask during the whole thing. Do this at the very least 3 times per week for at least a month (everyday will get you the gold star award!), and you have my personal guarantee that you will notice the above changes! Stick this article by your bed, on your fridge, or next to your bathroom mirror and you won’t forget. Your body is going to LOVE you!