Breathe your way to a better quality of life

Change the way you breathe from upper chest to diaphragmatic is the first step into increasing your energy and thus the quality of your life. You will experience more energy, feel more alert and perform better. Using more of your lungs, exchanging the air more efficiently and firing the right muscles (like a baby does) will increase your health and ultimately, performance. In hockey, when you finish a hard shift, sitting on the bench recovering your breathing (this is done first) you want to relax the upper body, the shoulders and all the muscles associated, because these are the muscles you will use next shift - just breathe diaphragmatically and recover quicker and the upper body will be ready to pass, shoot and score.

What next

Becoming aware of how you breathe (belly) is the first step, now to add to your tool box, we require another experiment. Sit on a chair with you back relatively erect and hands on your legs with palms facing upward. Inhale then exhale fully and continue for about one minute, paying attention to how you feel. Then turn you hands over, palms facing downward and continue breathing. Be attentive to how you feel and the difference in your breathing with palms up versus palms down; flip the hands again for twenty seconds and repeat. The way your hands are positioned changes the way you breathe and vice versa, the way you breathe affects your body. For example, if your shoulders are tight or a better example is when you become angry, be attentive to your body and how tense it is...then focus your attention to your breathing; there is a good chance it will be short and shallow. Yes, this is an opportunity for experiential learning, one that can change the quality of your life and those around you. All that is required is your attention and a new technique... new tool.

When you become any negative emotion (anger is an easy one) pay attention to your shortness of breathe and take 6 or more relaxed breathes that are slightly deeper than your normal breath. What happened? You breathing changes, your body position (tense, etc.) changes and now you can respond to the situation. You can still yell or jump or whatever you do, or make a joke, laugh, whatever you want to do as you are no longer a slave to an emotion. You are the master. Is it easy...not if it is worth something, it takes attention and this is a skill in itself, but with commitment and persistence you can achieve this in 48 days.

Next we will chat about 'being attentive' and how do you sharpen this vital skill

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