“Breathe from the belly,” I’ve heard in yoga classes over the years. I take one or two deep breaths, fill up my belly and let it out, feeling like that was a lot of effort. I don’t know what you mean! Or how to sustain it! And it’s annoying to try.
Running through life, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or just facing the rigors and pace of our society, many of us become chest breathers. Shallow, shallow, breaths, ready, ready, alert for perceived danger. Prepared for fight or flight.
The kids’ martial arts school is offering a class on Buteyko Breathing. It is said to correct the CO2 deficiency most of us chest breathers have. Learning this method of breathing (or re-learning it, since most babies belly breathe naturally) is said to help the body systems operate more efficiently, reduce stress, snoring, it’s BIG for helping asthma, and all kinds of mouth related troubles including crooked teeth and plaque, etc.
It sounds crazy, how could breathing differently help so much, air is air, but then again. Breathing is the thing isn’t it? It’s THE THING. When we no longer do it, we no longer exist in this physical realm. How could it not be important?
So the first week, in an effort to retrain our bodies to breath through our noses, and stop giving up too much of our precious CO2, the instructor asked us to use paper tape to seal our mouths shut before bed! This allows our bodies to get in the habit of nose breathing, and thus belly breathing.
As a long suffering significant other of a person who snores, WHY HAD I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?
Not a peep out of my sexy taped up man!
The kids slept like little cherubs. Seth is usually a very restless sleeper, up a couple of times a night, but he did great!
Me? I felt like I was gonna die!
I slept like crap. Kept waking up feeling suffocated. Wanted to rip that tape off. I am not used to breathing through my nose. Not used to it at all.
Then, around 7:00AM, I slightly woke, not quite awake, still dozing really, and I realized I was belly breathing. It felt like a bellows blowing air in and out, all the way down to my hip bones, it felt perfect, and soothing, no effort at all. This is how you breathe?
I spent the day yesterday, consciously breathing through my nose and not my mouth, and despite being sleep depreived, I had a good day.
Last night was the second night, and I did much better. No suffocating feelings.
We’ll see how it goes.
And if my kids tell you I tape their mouths shut, believe them.
It’s for their own good.