This is a book about how to breathe properly. You heard it right. Correct breathing can be summarised in a sentence:
Exhibit breathing that is abdominal, slow, gentle, calm, regular, relatively unnoticeable, silent and through the nose.
- Primary stimulus to breathe is to remove excess carbon dioxide from the body
- Correct breathing both relies on and results in the right amount of CO2 being retained in your lungs
- CO2 is the primary stimulus for breathing and is the doorway that lets oxygen reach your muscles
- How sensitive you are to oxygen and CO2 levels affects how your body copes with physical exercise – the less sensitive to lower oxygen and higher CO2 buildup, the better
- Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT) – length of comfortable breath held
To increase your BOLT (aim for 40 seconds)
- Stop losses of CO2: A. Breathe through your nose, all the time. B. Stop sighing, swallow or suppress the sigh instead. C. Avoid taking big breathes when yawning or talking
- Improve tolerance of CO2: Sustained need for air over course of 10-12 mins (air deprivation exercise) resets the receptors in the brain to tolerate higher concentration of CO2
- Simulate high-altitude training (see below)
- Blood is made up of three parts: oxygen-carrying red cells, white blood cells and plasma
- Haemoglobin is a protein found within red cells, and one of the functions of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from lungs to the muscles
- haematocrit refers to the percentage of red blood cells in the blood – typically 40-50% for males and 36-44% for females
- normal oxygen saturation of haemaglobin is 95-99%
To unblock your nose
- Breathe in and out of nose
- Pinch your nose with fingers to hold breath
- Walk as many paces as possible with breath held, build up medium to strong air shortage
- Resume breathing, only through nose, try calm breathe immediately (important)
- Wait 1-2 minute and repeat
- Do six breath holds in total
For better sleep
Quality of sleep can be reduced by mouth breathing and heavy breathing. For snorers, tape your mouth when go to sleep for a period of three months is sufficient to restore nasal breathing during sleep.
Synthetic altitude training
- To improve CO2 tolerance, aim to maintain tolerable air hunger for 3-5 mins at a time, practising two sets of 5-minute exercise.
- Creating an air shortage by holding the breath during your warm-up is vitally important to cause an accumulation of CO2 in the blood before physical exercise/
- Practical alternative to high-altitude training is to supplement regular training with breath hold training.
- Performing a breath hold after an exhalation lowers the oxygen saturation of the blood to simulate the effects of high altitude training.
- Breath hold time is a very good predictor of mountain sickness.
- Flow is a state of concentration that allows for complete immersion in the situation at hand. Being in the flow allows for a still, quiet mind, undistracted by conscious thoughts
- The importance of being able to control and still the mind cannot be overestimated
- Your thoughts can be divided into: practical thoughts and distracting thoughts
- In control of your own mind: 1. Become aware of your thoughts – when you take the time to observe your thoughts, you will realise just how often you are stuck inside your own head. If your head is full of internal chattering, ask yourself if all this thinking and analysis is actually helpful. Be patient with your observation. 2. Quieten your mind. Quietening the mind should not just be limited to the time spent in formal meditation. Instead, your whole life should be a meditation.