May 24, 2012

Two-to-One Breathing

Before we get started with the 2:1 breathing check out this link by NBC, Sleep Apnea linked to Cancer, 68% increased risk of developing cancer of any kind. After watching on the NBC evening news I wonder if we breathe properly could we could avoid coming down with many illnesses since the body would be getting more oxygen then when we breathe the wrong way, as many Americans do. Check out my other breathing blogs in the sidebar to the right under Breathing.

2:1 breathing is a breathing practice where your exhalation is lengthened to twice the inhalation. This practice is deeply restful restoring inner balance to the autonomic nervous system (fight or flight). Triggers a calming response that can dampen and stabilize the nervous system brought on by performance nerves like before a test, race, ball game, speech, interview,... Also a great practice before meditation.

To perform the 2:1 breathing practice, sit comfortably, relax the body, close your eyes and allow the spine to elongate with relaxed shoulders. Begin by breathing through the nose with a deep, smooth and even breath. Now internally count your inhalations for a time of about 20 to 40 seconds or until you get a comfortable count of your inhalations. So if you had a count of 3 for each inhalation your exhalations during the practice will be 6 for each.

Start with an exhalation then inhale and on every exhalation for the duration of the practice will be two times the length of the inhalation.

The duration of the practice should be 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 20 breaths. Start out slow getting comfortable with 2:1 breathing before adding to many sets and repetitions. If you become lightheaded or don't feel right come back to your normal breath. Make your focus on your breathing and counting. If your new to 2:1 breathing you can exhale through pursed lips which may help prevent you from tensing up.

As you feel comfortable with the practice you can begin expanding the breath by increasing the inhalation count by 1 or 2 and the exhalation by 2 or 4. With time you can work up to a higher count or continue at the starting count, you know your body and you decide.

2:1 breathing should not create strain on the mind or body, if it does, come back to your normal breathe until you are ready to begin again.

I believe breathing properly is the most important thing we can do for our health.

Happy & Healthy
Yoga Chuck

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