If you know me at all you know I love Yoga Nidra and White Light Meditation. I love 4 count breathing (or square breathing) and I am a believer of the power of Solfeggio frequency music. (No worries if none of that made sense, I will be getting you more info on them soon).
But, my current love is Coherent Breathing. The focus is on a specific breathing pattern that allows for the greatest balance within the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The brain child of Stephen Elliott, this breathing pattern has been studied since 2013 and some interesting research can be found here.
There is a lot of science and information about it but I am a big fan of just trying things out. Especially breath work. It’s free and is unlikely to hurt you. If you feel like you need more air, breathe. If you feel light headed, take a moment in your natural breath and jump back in. As an asthmatic, I understand needing to know I am in control of my oxygen intake. So you do what works for you.
To begin this practice start by simply laying down or taking an easy seat. The long term goal is to breathe at a rate of five breaths per minute. You may have to work up to this 6 count breath. I typically start by inhaling for four counts, pausing, then exhaling for four counts, pausing, then repeat. I do this a couple times then up my count until I reach the count of six. That’s it. Really. But the benefits are many.
Ideally, you want to do this type of breath for up to 20 minutes a day. Maybe trade your meditation for this breath work for a week and see how you feel. Or start with 5 minutes before you hop out of bed in the morning. Do what you can and make space for not being the perfect Coherent Breather on the planet.
There is some available music to help you breath in rhythm so you don’t have to focus on counting so much. I find this helpful and put the timer on so I can dial into my breath and not focus on anything else until the bell rings me back to the day.
For more information check out the New York Times discussion as well.
Check it out, try it on, and let me know your thoughts!