Breathing, your hacking tool for your Mind, Body, and Emotions!
It is about time I got on this topic. I have talked about it and lost a lot of breath doing that. So let us get right to the nitty-gritty of it.
Your breathing is a HUGE factor in your success for… Ohhh boy … here is a short list …
So let’s start with the basic foundation. You do not turn fat into muscle. Your fat is stored in your fat cells in molecules called triglycerides. Your fat cells expand as they fill (making you … well larger) and also deflate when you are not storing as many fat cells (making you skinnier).
When you are in the burning phase of your fat cells, your triglycerides are broken down to produce energy for the exertion your body is facing.
While in this process, there are waste products left behind, primarily carbon dioxide, which you breathe out (plants and trees love that), and water which you urinate out (roses love that). The approximate loss seems to be about 15% wasted in your urine and approximately 85% when you exhale.
So to take a note from Fooducate.com, “When you lose 10 pounds of weight, 8.5 of them are simply exhaled. The other 1.5 pounds are urinated out.”
Another point, sweating is not “fat-burning”. Fat burning is simply a metabolic process. Sweating is a symptom (usually) of fat burning. As your body heats up from use, your core temperature increases. Your body sweats to help it cool off.
Another important point is that when you are sweating from working out intensely, it is very likely you will be burning electrolytes and minerals. Be sure to replenish your body with water infused with electrolytes and minerals. Not with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Yes, you may lose a little water weight from sweating, but as you rehydrate, you generally get that back. Hydration is a critical component and should never go overlooked.
Now I want to take this a few steps further….
Your body loves to burn your fat as fuel when your working is at a low intensity. Ie. If you are lifting weight, do between 40% to 60% of your maximum capability.
Your breathing is a key factor because it couples some key components together to make your success a faster reality. When you focus on what you are doing, you will have a greater gain than if you were not focused. I call this active focus vs passive focus.
Active vs passive focus has been scientifically studied numerous times and I recall an article I read many years ago. The study took a group of people and they were split into 2 groups. Group 1 did weight curls while watching television. Group 2 did weight curls while watching their bicep. On average, group 2 had a 25% greater increase in the muscle on their bicep.
This proved yet again that active practicing gets you increased results. Well, that other part I was mentioning …. Breathing!
Proper breathing requires focus or a very disciplined person that has been learning the art of proper breathing for years.
The majority of people tend to breathe shallowly. I recommend using your respiration to set your pace. This way you are training your body and breathing pattern to work in concert. Couple those with focusing on the exercise at hand and you will be not only “in the moment” or perhaps “in the zone” but you will also reap the benefits of a more mindful workout.
A Gift To You!
What I am going to do now is teach you a beginning breathing exercise. There are more advanced aspects to this exercise, but the last thing I want to do is overwhelm you.
First and foremost, you need to find a place you can spend some time alone where it is quiet and there will be no distractions, if possible. That means, turn your phone off or to silent. No vibration mode on your cell phone because that buzz will capture your attention and distract you from the moment of tranquility that I would like you to experience. Simply a place of quiet for about 5 to 10 minutes, more if you need it.
Sit on the edge of a chair or stand in Wuji posture (feet a little wider than your shoulders, point your feet forward, and bend your knees a couple of inches). Let your arms fall to your sides. Close your eyes. Place all of your attention on the center of your brain. Breathe in your nose and visualize you are breathing a cool and calm mist into your brain. As you breathe out your mouth, visualize all your thoughts being carried out on your breath. Each time you breathe in, make it take a little longer. Each time you breathe out, make it take a little longer. Allow your mind to completely clear. It is ok if this takes a couple of minutes or more breaths. Just stay with it until your mind has cleared.
Good! Now move your awareness to the center of your heart. Breathe in through your nose, into the center of your heart, and feel your heart growing calmer and stronger. As you breathe out your mouth, visualize all of your stress and emotions being carried away from you upon your breath.
Just as before, each time you breathe in, make it take a little longer. Each time you breathe out, make it take a little longer. Allow your emotions to be unencumbered and calm. Take a couple of minutes or as long as necessary to feel your heart and chest feel lighter.
Excellent! Now move your awareness to your navel and then travel toward your spine so your awareness is between your back and naval. Begin breathing in through your nose and feel the cool air flowing into the center of your stomach. As you breathe out your mouth, allow any discomfort and pain to be carried away on your breath. Each time you breathe in this cool sensation, visualize a rippling effect starting at the center point and slowly reaching to the extremities of your limbs. This may take several breaths and that is ok. As you continue to do this breathing and rippling, slowly elongate your inhale and exhale. Make each breath take just a little longer.
Breathe in your nose and feel the cool healing air nourish your core and ripple throughout your body, as you exhale out your mouth, visualize and feel your body feeling less tense and less discomfort. Do this until your body feels relaxed or clear of dis-ease.
To finish this exercise, breathe in one last time. Nice and slow inhale in your nose as you make 2 soft fists. As you breathe out your mouth, open your fists, and extend your fingers forward so that the center of your palms are gently pressing down toward the earth.
Now open your eyes.
Thank you for doing this exercise. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have shared it with you. There are more complex ways of doing this for a wide variety of benefits, but I always recommend starting simple. This will always give you a solid foundation that you can fall back upon.
Dr. Robert Bombalier began training in martial arts in 1975, breathwork in 1985, Qigong in 1987, and T’ai Chi in 1988. He holds a 10th Degree Black in the venerable art of Shaolin Kempo Karate.
Dr. Robert Bombalier is very active in teaching seminars worldwide, in person, online, at homes, and businesses. If you are looking for instruction, feel free to contact him. He loves to educate those that are willing to learn.