Learning how to breathe correctly might sound strange as breathing is an activity that comes naturally. Nevertheless, problems related to improper breathing, like mouth breathing, exist and affect our health. The consequences of irregular breathing can range from minimal, like facial asymmetry, to severe, like sleeping problems and even organ malfunction. Inappropriate breathing can also affect our mental health. For these reasons, practitioners understand that learning to control your breath is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For someone who likes to maintain an active lifestyle, it is especially important to understand the impact breathing has on performance. Whether you go to the gym regularly, exercise at home once in a while, or are a professional athlete, knowing how to control your breath and to breathe properly can change the way you perform and improve your resistance.

Breathwork and its Benefits

Breathwork, also known as pranayama, is an alternative practice that focuses on controlled and conscious breathing exercises. It is a simple practice, and for that reason, the multiple benefits it provides can be overlooked. The practice requires that the participant pays full attention to its breathing and concentrates only on that activity.

Since learning to control your breath helps to bring awareness to the present moment, breathwork is used in meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, which are practices used to treat anxiety, stress, and depression. Breathwork supports the parasympathetic nervous system and increases Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, which in turn decreases the chances of neuron stimulation. This results in the body feeling more relaxed and awake, increasing the probabilities of responding promptly and logically to a life-threatening situation.

Breathing Techniques and Physical Performance

There are many steps one needs to do to become a great athlete. First, it is essential to learn the basic techniques of any sport, like knowing how to throw a basketball to learning how to move the body to jump higher. Second, it is important to give the body proper care. A good athlete should have an optimal diet and learn to provide as much resting time as practice time. Third, we all have heard that practice makes perfect. Spending the necessary amount of time practicing should provide the required knowledge and ability to become an expert. However, there are things that not every coach knows or can teach. Even the best of athletes are always learning new things to improve their game. Among these, learning to breathe and to control their breathing is essential to maintain their body functioning correctly as well as improve their performance.

One of the causes that brings down performance, mostly for athletes who compete, is stress and anxiety. Some athletes rely on drugs to counter anxiety symptoms without knowing that there are alternatives that are natural and will not get them banned from participating. Vincent A. Parnabas et al. wrote for the Universal Journal of Psychology about the impact that breathing techniques have on sports performance. In a study where 122 athletes participated, he found a positive correlation between the usage of breathing techniques and the reduction of anxiety and stress in the participants. They noticed that the more the athletes practiced breathwork, the better their performance became.

Another study conducted by Daniele Martarelli et al. discussed how diaphragmatic breathing significantly reduces stress levels. Sixteen athletes participated in an exhaustive training circuit. The group was divided into two and after the training, the first group practiced diaphragmatic breathing for an hour while the second spent the same time sitting in a quiet place. The results showed that the first group was able to relax faster, that their cortisol levels were notably reduced, and that their melatonin levels increased. The study concluded that breathwork after working out reduces the levels of oxidative stress and increases antioxidant levels.

Additional benefits

If the right amount of oxygen does not get to the muscles, these will not provide their full capacity and might even suffer tearing. Also, for those who want to grow muscles, it is essential to know that the bigger these are the more oxygen they will require. Thus making the practice of breathing correctly an important thing to learn. Breathing correctly is also correlated to a proper posture. The 4-7-8 method has become a popular breathing technique among coaches and athletes because it helps to relax but also shows how to maintain a proper posture.

Other studies have demonstrated how breathwork regulates blood pressure, improves retention of information, and aids to treat sleeping problems. Breathwork is a technique that brings many benefits, including the improvement of mental health as well as making the body feel more energized and awake. Having the control of our breath improves our response to stressful situations for it helps us to relax. Practicing breathwork can increase our physical performance in many ways, as it helps us feel relaxed and allows oxygen to get to every place in our body. Besides, it is a practice that is simple and does not have negative effects.

Koshas is the first online portal providing curated information and resources in the alternative medicine field. Our goal is to provide users and practitioners with the best resources and services in the world of alternative and holistic medicine, allowing accessibility to everyone.

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Koshas is the first online portal providing curated information and resources in the alternative medicine field. Our goal is to provide users and practitioners with the best resources and services in the world of alternative and holistic medicine, allowing accessibility to everyone.

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