One of the more shocking things many discover when going on a breathwork journey is that our breathing habits are often pretty poor. You’d think that breathing would be a pretty simple idea that everyone would have mastered, but it turns out that how we breathe can be poorly inhibited by our habitual behavior.
It’s a little like maintaining good posture; everyone knows that good posture helps you reduce back pain while serving a variety of health benefits. Yet, you still see a lot of folks with rolled shoulders and craned necks as we accumulate a litany of bad habits.
Breathing is a simple, automatic process for our bodies. Still, bad habits can build up one after the other, creating a situation where our breathing process becomes less and less effective over time.
In today's blog, we’ll cover the bad habits to look out for and what you can do to curb them before they affect your breathing even further.
It’s All In The Nose
The nose has to be one of our body's most sorely underappreciated aspects. It’s crucial to the breathing process because it’s the only part of our body solely responsible for inhaling and exhaling. Unlike the mouth, the nose is only concerned with breathing, so it pays to ensure you’re using your nose when doing most of your breathing.
The nose filters out germs and particles from the air before reaching your lungs, which your mouth doesn’t do. On top of that, when breathing through your mouth, your oxygen intake actually lessens compared to the nose.
One of the most fundamental meditation practices is belly breathing – the process of using your belly to breathe rather than your chest. It’s easy to see why – because breathing with your gut rather than your chest is the optimal way to breathe. At some point, for reasons that will never fully be understood, humans decided that breathing with our belly was a bad look, so many insisted on breathing with their chests instead.
The reality is that belly breathing is the most effective way to inhale and exhale as it takes full advantage of the diaphragm – a large muscle under your lungs that is almost solely responsible for helping your lungs do their job.
A common bad habit when breathing is to inhale using your upper chest, causing it to rise. The issue is that this doesn’t engage the diaphragm, creating an inefficient loop of breathing where the body never gets enough oxygen, causing the body to operate under stressful conditions.
Even worse, some people suck in their bellies when inhaling, causing the diaphragm to tighten and actively counteract then inhalation, causing even less air to be breathed in.
For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here and enjoy a FREE 7-day trial with access to everything we have to offer!
And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.