We recently had an excellent speaker come through my MacKay Forums: Karyn Garossino is a Canadian Olympian having competed in the 1988 Calgary Olympics in ice dancing. She has interpreted the lessons learnt as a competitive athlete for us to use in business and life, to make us stronger and more resilient.
I especially loved the part of her presentation where she taught us her breathing technique. Now, I have used and taught the square breathing technique—you will even find some exercises with it on my website—but I found her method to be simpler and easier to learn.
She started by asking, “Who is the best breather on the planet?”
Our first response was Michael Phelps. He is an excellent swimmer after all. Nope. Not the right answer. We then guessed the free divers of the Pacific. Wrong again. Finally Karyn shared with us. The best breathers on the planet are living amongst us. You may even have one on your house! It’s a baby.
Have you ever watched a sleeping baby? Not a care in the world. They after all do not have mortgages to worry about. No annual reviews or quarterly targets. No teenagers to bring up! All they have to do is eat, sleep and that third thing we are not going to talk about. When they lay flat on their backs on a bed, all you can see moving is their bellies moving up and down. This is exactly how we should breathe. By raising and dropping our bellies, to let our diaphragms do the work. We also need to relax our shoulders and buttocks when we are breathing (like the babies do), and breathe out roughly twice as long as we inhale.
(Please watch the video above to practice this technique.)
By combining those three things: breathing with our bellies, relaxing our shoulders and butts, and breathing out twice as long as we inhale, we signal to our brains that all is well, it is time to relax and refresh. Soon we will feel refreshed and full of joy!