Whilst we’re increasingly aware that we’ve diverged from the foods that best suit our natural physiology, we’re only just beginning to realise that the way many of us breathe has suffered a similar fate.
Multiple aspects of modern life have led to this divergence, not least stress, but also the soft and processed foods that make up so much of the typical Western diet. These have led to altered jawlines and a tendency to over breathe. Stress, sedentary lifestyles, learnt behaviours and to some degree genetics have compounded the latter leading to widespread dysfunctional breathing.
Breathing re-education is all about re-learning how to breathe well to overcome or reduce poor health as well as to maximise performance and resilience.
What is Disordered or Dysfunctional Breathing?
It’s any combination of the following:
Shallow, upper chest breathing
Fast breathing and gasping
Hard and audible breathing
Frequent sighing or yawning
Unconscious breath holds
Chaotic breathing patterns
The challenge, of course, is to recognise that one or more of the above is happening. Our breathing is so familiar to us that it’s easy to have little to no awareness of it. But there may be other clues that we need to make new, long-term adjustments to how we breathe.
Experience insomnia, snoring, poor sleep quality or sleep apnea?
Have a respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD?
Feel anxious or stressed, sometimes with no obvious cause?
Have a stress-related condition?
Easily get out of breath?
Have consistently cold extremities, i.e. hands &/ feet?
Wake in the morning with a dry mouth?
The list is far from exhaustive because poor breathing can impact on many aspects of health and many areas of the body by driving up stress, inadequate oxygenation of the body, and as a result of the poor sleep that can ensue from disordered breathing.
When Annette discovered that her breathing was dysfunctional, and she needed to work on the post Covid breathlessness she was experiencing, not to mention long-term sleep issues, she decided she absolutely must undergo breathing re-education. She has subsequently become a Buteyko Breathing Instructor so that she can share the information and exercises with others. There’s more about Buteyko Breathing here.
And as Graham has come to his own conclusions about the importance of functional breathing for his health, he's been able to take up jogging again in a way he never imagined thanks to what he has learnt by studying to become an Oxygen Advantage® Functional Breathing Instructor. There's more about Oxygen Advantage® here.