Date: February 2, 2021
We launched our Startover series with a conversation with Bryan Mirabella, a certified instructor in Restorative Breathing, Oxygen Advantage, and the Institute of Motion.
He offered simple ways in which we can change our breathing and shared how it can transform our sense of well-being.
How to Breathe
- Breathe Slowly
Breathe for four counts in and six seconds out, totaling six breaths per minute. Slow breathing will induce feelings of tranquility.
- Breathe deeply
Breathe from your diaphragm and your belly, rather than your chest. You should feel your waist expand when you breathe in.
- Breathe through your nose
Think of the common refrain in yoga classes – the mouth is for eating, the nose is for breathing.
Breaths to Remember
Bryan defined important types of breath which help us measure our rate of breathing, and then he provided breathwork exercises for each.
- Baseline Breath
A baseline breath is the number of seconds you can comfortably hold your exhaled breath before feeling the need to inhale. The longer our baseline breath, the better. Most of us breathe twice as much as we need to.
Exercise: “Control Pause” – Breathe out and plug your nose. Hold your breath until you feel a strong need to breathe in again. Ideally, your control pause is around 30 seconds.
- Cadence Breath
A cadence breath is the number of breaths per minute. Decreasing the number of
breaths you take (your cadence) improves heart rate variability, oxygen levels in the bloodstream, vagal tone and respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Slow breathing also affects a collection of neurons in the brain that induces tranquility.
Exercise: Inhale for four seconds and exhale for six seconds. Repeat six times, which sets a cadence of six breaths per minute.
- Breath Retention
Breath retention means holding your breath. We should be able to hold our breath for at least 60 seconds, with a corresponding control pause of 20 seconds.
Exercise: “Unblock the Nose” – Take a normal breath in and a normal breath out, and then pinch and hold your nose. Bob your head or look left and right. Then, return to normal breathing. Repeat six times. Breathing through your nose increases nitric oxide, which raises oxygen levels in the blood and enables nutrients to travel efficiently throughout your body.
If exercising is causing you to breathe through your mouth, reduce the intensity until you can breathe through your nose.
Bryan can be reached at [email protected] and 646-872-2312.