As your breathing volume reduces to more normal levels, your CP increases. The following is an example of the relationship between breathing volume and your CP.
CP of 10 seconds; breathing is noisy, loud, irregular, large, heavy, erratic, and effortful.
CP of 20 seconds; breathing is heavy but calmer. A natural pause occurs between each breath.
CP of 30 seconds; breathing is calm and quiet. The natural pause gets larger.
CP of 40 seconds; breathing is very quiet, regular, calm and unnoticeable.
Compare our lifestyles
Fifty years ago:
- Greater physical activity
- More natural foods
- Less overeating
- Cooler temperatures within the home
- Less public talking
- Less stress- less competitive pressures, a more green environment and nature
Result: Correct volume breathing – Higher CP – anxiety uncommon
- Little physical activity
- More processed foods
- Habitual overeating
- Higher temperatures of homes and warmer clothes
- Talking forms a large part of our working life
- More stress – artificial and noisy concrete environment with information overload
Result: Big volume breathing – Lower CP – anxiety very common
How to know if you are practicing breathing exercises correctly
Ultimately all exercises are designed to correct your breathing and reverse chronic hyperventilation. The goal is for breathing to become quiet, gentle, calm and regular as characterized by a high CP. All exercises involve one thing and that is to breathe less for periods of time in order to reverse the bad habit of overbreathing.
When you practice any of the breathing exercises, it is necessary that you feel a tolerable and non stressful hunger for air. This is good feedback and is essential to correct the habit of overbreathing. Feeling a need for air is due to an increase of CO2 in your blood. Your respiratory centre is reacting to the increased CO2 by stimulating your breathing to keep it at the lower level. After 9 – 12 minutes of feeling this air hunger, the increased CO2 penetrates the blood-brain barrier and resets the respiratory centre a little. This will be indicated by a higher CP as taken a few minutes after completing 15 – 20 minutes of breathing exercises.
The feeling of the need for air is not due to your body being deprived of Oxygen, but arises because you are breathing less than you normally do. There is just one simple rule and without it, you will make little progress – The only way that you know that you are reducing your breathing is when you feel a need for air. A need for air is the same as a want for air. The experience of breathlessness is similar to partaking in physical activity. To experience and understand the need for air, perform the following:
- Take a small breath in.
- Gently breathe out.
- Hold your nose and wait until you feel a distinct but non-stressful need to breathe in.
- (The degree of air shortage will depend on whatever exercises you are undertaking.)
Feeling panic while reducing your breathing
It can be quite common for people with anxiety to feel a little panic when they first practice reduced breathing exercises. In the past during periods of anxiety or hyperventilation attacks, you probably felt a need for air. The following exercises through creating a similar feeling of a want for air may bring up symptoms of a little discomfort. The key is to practice the exercises gently and to feel a need for air no greater than what you would experience during the mild walk. If you find the reduced breathing by relaxation exercise too difficult, begin with exercises that involve distraction. These exercises include walking with mouth closed, any of the small breath hold exercises or bringing your attention to the inner body. These are explained in detail further on.
Note of Caution: While breathing exercises are perfectly safe for most, they are not recommended for a number of people. If you are unsure, do not attempt breathing exercises. Instead contact me via the contact information in appendix.
- Category 1- Do not attempt any of the breathing exercises if you have or are undergoing any of the following: Current Cancer treatments, Type 1 Diabetes, Thrombosis, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, Unsatisfactory blood pressure levels, Chest pains or pain in the heart region, Sickle cell anemia, Arterial aneurysm, Any heart problems in the past six months, Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, A known brain tumour or kidney disease.
About two thirds of people who undergo reduced breathing will experience a detox or cleansing reaction. Better volume breathing improves blood flow and the oxygenation of all tissues and organs. Cleansing reactions take place when the CP moves through 10, 20 and 40 seconds. It can also occur when the CP is 2, 4 and 6 times the initial value.
Note: if you feel an increased feeling of being cold as you apply the reduced breathing, it is best to cease the exercise and consult with an experienced instructor. Increased feeling of being cold can indicate a drop of blood sugar levels and so a snack is recommended.
Generally cleansing reactions are an aggravation of your symptoms, are mild and can last from several hours to several weeks. For most people it lasts just one to two days. Depending on the person, typical symptoms include;
- females may be emotional
- males may be depressed
- slight ache and pain
- mucus from nose or lungs
- more frequent visits to the bathroom
- loss of appetite
- increased yawning and fatigue
- general unwell feeling
- short term headache
- increased irritability or anxiety
- more saliva
- metallic or coppery taste in the mouth and increased demand for water.
Don’t worry; it is highly unlikely that you will experience every reaction. If you do have a strong cleansing, your body has undergone a major physiological change and you will feel so much better from it. To help reduce the intensity and duration of cleansing reactions, drink warm water regularly throughout the day and continue with reduced breathing by relaxation. During the cleansing, your Control Pause will quickly reduce. It will increase again when the cleansing reaction has passed and you will be feeling so much better. On a positive note, everyone will experience signs of health improvement including: increased calmness and concentration; less anxiety, less stress, better sleep and more energy, and improved wellbeing.