Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Tibetan Five Rites: Should We Breathe Through the Nose or the Mouth When We Practice Them?

You should breathe only through the nose. The nose is designed for breathing. The nose is the first line of defense, warning you of harmful smells, and trapping and filtering out particles and bacteria.

When you breathe through your nose, it is easier to regulate your breathing rate and depth. When you breathe slowly and deeply it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system associated with digestion, assimilation, calm and relaxation.

When you breathe rapidly into the upper chest you stimulate the sympathetic nervous system associated with ‘flight or fight’ response of the body. By controlling your breathing you can initiate the ‘relaxation response’ of the body which reduces stress.

An expert on breathing whilst exercising is Dr John Douillard whose breathing techniques have been used by dozens of world-class athletes, including tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.

He is a great advocate backed by research who says we should bring the intensity of our exercise down to a point where we can breathe through our nose. He has shown that this improves performance, stamina, focus, and coordination.

He believes that we should breathe through our nose when exercising because it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system associated with regeneration and rejuvenation. When we exercise to intensity whereby we breathe through the nose in a rapid upper chest type emergency breath, this degenerates us and causes stress to the body.

He says ...”In Ayurveda, the first requirement for health, fitness and longevity is that the body’s life force or “prana” must flow effortlessly into every cell of the body. This is accomplished primarily via the breath. It is the proper use of the breath during exercise that will bring harmony between the mind and body and create a measurable experience of calm and rejuvenation in each workout.

Exercise can act as a double edge sword where it can either incur stress or remove it depending on the quality of the breath. The best way to consistently breathe into the lower lobes of the lungs is by nasal breathing. The nose is really an intricately designed breathing apparatus that will prepare the air perfectly for access into the lower lobes. In short the nose filters, moistens and rarifies the air before it penetrates the lower lobes.

Probably the most unusual feature lies in the turbinates of the nose, which act as turbines to swirl the air into vortices that drives the incoming air into the small and distal alveoli of the lungs. It is when these distal lobes are fully perfused that the body produces a neurological state of composure even while under extreme stress - thus the eye of the hurricane."...

He quotes tennis great Billie Jean King saying, ...“I would transport myself beyond the turmoil of the court to a place of total peace and calm."...

The Importance of Correct Breathing

Breathing well is incredibly important, because a number of clinical studies have proven that how well you breathe is literally an indicator of how long you will live

Poor breathing patterns can seriously affect your physical health as well as your mental and emotional well being.

With a high percentage of raw foods the respiratory system is responsible for eliminating approximately 70% of your metabolic waste. The remainder should be eliminated through defecation 3%, urination 8% and perspiration 19%. So, if you think that going to the bathroom every day is important, or that of working up a sweat now and then is healthy - think again about the value of full free optimal breathing!

If you want to find how well you breathe – try breathing expert & contributor to T5T®’s breathing techniques; Mike White whose free online breathing tests – have been done by around 50,000 people so far.

To get the most out of any type of healing work and more importantly life - developing optimal breathing habits is one of the most valuable things you can do.

T5T® has incorporated breathing with the Five Tibetan Rites because it supercharges their effects by boosting your vitality & improving health & wellbeing.

If you are taking the time to do a daily energy raising exercise routine like The 5 Tibetans– it makes perfect sense to include natural full breathing with the movements. Breathing in fills your body with life-giving oxygen; and breathing out eliminates toxins and wastes.

T5T® teaches you how to breathe slower, deeper, fuller and with less tension. Our Energy Breathing Techniqueis completed 3 times between each Rite. Plus we instruct you on how to breathe correctly while performing the Rites.

..."Breathing slower, deeper and easier is vital for longevity, health and vitality. I believe that T5T can help most people become more conscious of their breathing. It can also release tension in their breathing, and often gradually expand their breathing capacity as well as slow their breathing rate. T5T will help many people to achieve the above, however there are those who may have an undetected dysfunctional breathing or what I call UDB whose next step would be my Optimal Breathing Techniques."... Michael Grant White, “The Breathing Coach” - Executive Director of www.breathing.com and the Optimal Breathing School

To Download "The Eye of Revelation" Free - Click Here

To Learn T5T - and get your chakras spinning more rapidly - Click Here

If you wish to publish this article on your website you may do so, provided that you assign copyright to the author exactly as written below: A pdf version is available on request.

Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007)

9 comments:

Rajendar Menen said...

Yes, nose breathing is much more effective. Having tried both --- nose and mouth breathing --- I can clearly see the difference. Now it is easier to hold my breath (when I feel like it) for a minute and a half. Plus the cardio-vascular benefits are many and easily visible when you jog or indulge in strenuous activity.

Carolinda Witt said...

I had exactly the same experience!

Maria said...

I had the same during my yoga retreat last year.I just use my nose now.

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Maria, Did you used to mouth breathe before?

Olga said...

Definitely better to breath through your nose but when it come to doing activities you have to use your mouth otherwise you won't be able to inhale enough air. St Lucia hotels

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Olga. Personally I follow the principles below and it works brilliantly - from Dr Douillard mentioned above in post

THE SECRET TO LIFELONG FITNESS

In Ayurveda, the first requirement for health, fitness and longevity is that the body’s life force or “prana” must flow effortlessly into every cell of the body. This is accomplished primarily via the breath. It is the proper use of the breath during exercise that will bring harmony between the mind and body and create a measurable experience of calm and rejuvenation in each workout.

Most of us do not realize that our body responds to exercise as an emergency. The fight or flight nervous system gets maxed out even during moderate exercise. This emergency response during each workout not only produces stress fighting degenerative hormones but it is likely the key factor in America’s chronic aversion to exercise.

Normal people would never intentionally subject themselves to an emergency day after day after day. Yet when we ask people to engage in regular conventional exercise that is exactly what we are asking. It is no wonder that eighty percent of America doesn't do it. To make exercise fun again we must replace the degenerative emergency response with a rejuvenative, calming one. It is this experience of calm, like the eye of an hurricane, that will act as a hub as we engage in the most dynamic physical, mental or emotional activity.

In nature, the bigger the eye of the hurricane, the more forceful the winds. It is this experience of calm that we seek to reproduce in the midst of even the most extreme stress. In athletics and in life, when people are at their best they often find it effortless and euphoric. When tennis great Billie Jean King was at her best she said, “I would transport myself beyond the turmoil of the court to a place of total peace and calm.”

CREATING THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE

If you were to see a bear in the woods you would most likely take a quick, upper chest, gasping emergency breath. This breath would trigger a fight or flight response in your nervous system, as the upper lobes of the lungs are primarily innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. That kind of gasping mouth breathing, which is much like a hyperventilation breathing pattern, is a normal breathing response to extreme stress. Unfortunately this how most people breathe during exercise, triggering the same neurological response.

In contrast, the nerves that would calm, rejuvenate, and regenerate the body are in the lower lobes of the lungs along with the majority of the blood supply. The problem is that most people never breathe into these lower parasympathetic dominant lobes. The most noteworthy reason is that the rib cage has what’s called “elastic recoil,” which means it is constantly contracting and squeezing on the heart and lungs 24 hours a day.

Over time the rib cage can literally becomes a cage, making it very difficult to breathe into the lower lobes, thus forcing us to breathe through the mouth into the upper lungs a d triggering a minor but constant emergency.

E xercise can act as a double edge sword where it can either incur stress or remove it depending on the quality of the breath. The best way to consistently breath into the lower lobes of the lungs is by nasal breathing. The nose is really an intricately designed breathing apparatus that will prepare the air perfectly for access into the lower lobes. In short the nose filters, moistens and rarifies the air so the penetrate the lower lobes.

Probably the most unusual feature lies in the turbinates of the nose, which act as turbines to swirl the air into vortices that drives the incoming air into the small and distal alveoli of the lungs. It is when these distal lobes are fully perfused that the body produces a neurological state of composure even while under extreme stress - thus the eye of the hurricane..... cont next comment

Carolinda Witt said...

continued from above


YOUR FIRST AYURVEDIC WORKOUT

Go for a walk and for the first ten minutes breathe deeply in and out through your nose as you walk fairly slowly. Here you are exercising your lungs first making sure that each breath is deeper, longer and slower than the one prior, with the emphasis on comfort. It is this experience of comfort that you will be taking into higher levels of exertion.

Then begin to walk faster and then faster and be sure to maintain the exact same rhythm of the breath you established from the beginning. At some point you will notice it becoming more difficult to get the air in through the nose, with an ensuing urge to take a mouth breath. When your exercise forces you to take your first mouth breath, you lose the eye of the hurricane, and your body is, at that moment, forced into an emergency response to maintain that pace.

When this happens, immediately slow down and recapture the original deep, long and slow rhythm of the breath. Once it is re-established, then try to walk faster again telling your body you want more performance. When the breathing gets labored and you open your mouth, then slow down on cue again, constantly telling your body you want more performance and we will not create an emergency.

Soon you body will accommodate a higher level of a natural and more permanent fitness. Because of the years of lower rib cage constriction, you will more than likely find this difficult at first. But, what you couldn't do the first day you will find yourself effortlessly doing within two or three weeks, comfortably breathing through your nose. When this happens you rib cage is not a cage any more - rather twelve rib-like levers that can massage your heart and lungs up to 28,000 times a day. When this starts happening, a natural calming influence stays with you all day while you deal with all kinds of extreme stressors. This is the first step of living in the eye of the hurricane and the provider of the most important health benefits of exercise.

Anonymous said...

hi. a have Allergic Rhinitis .and a left my spray when a start the rites. everythink is okay. but now ı left the rites so I want a baby. now what can ı do for rhinitis or can ı doing this five rites while pregnancy?

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi there, sorry can't help with advice for your Rhinitis - that can't be fun!

Regarding pregnancy - see below:

Yoga is wonderful during pregnancy to maintain your fitness; keep your muscles toned and improve your posture. It increases your energy levels and reduces fatigue as well as assists with maintaining optimal health levels during pregnancy.

It also teaches you how to relax and breathe. This is very important to help you adjust to the demands of pregnancy, then birth and motherhood itself. There are precautions though if you want to practice any form of yoga during pregnancy. For example you should not carry out any poses that require you to lie flat on your back (as this decreases blood flow to the uterus).

You should also avoid lying on your belly or performing exercises that require excessive stretching of the abdominal muscles. Do to the release of the hormone relaxin which enables the uterus to expand during pregnancy you are at more risk of straining muscles, so extra care must be taken to avoid strain on your joints.

There are special requirements for each stage of your pregnancy. In the 2nd trimester you will need to pay attention to your technique to avoid placing undue stress on your joints as your connective tissue will be softer due to relaxin. Because balance can also be affected during pregnancy, extra precautions need to be taken with standing poses during the final trimester of pregnancy.

The Five Tibetan Rites and Pregnancy

We do not recommend you begin practicing The Five Rites during pregnancy, unless you consult a specialist teacher in pre-natal yoga. She can help you adjust the poses (or offer alternatives) at each of the different stages of pregnancy. The first movement is a Spin which can cause dizziness. If you experience nausea in the early stages of pregnancy this may make it worse.

In the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy you may have problems with balance so this movement would not be recommended. The other four movements can be modified or adjusted but you really must see a qualified pre-natal yoga teacher.

Pregnancy is not a time to work hard on improving your flexibility as special care needs to be taken to avoid over straining your muscles due to the effects of relaxin which softens your connective tissue. A trained instructor who has experience in instructing pregnant women will also offer you additional movements to assist you with the demands of pregnancy and birth.

After Birth

The first six weeks of birth are really about healing and adjusting to the demands of the baby. Relaxin will remain in your body for around 5 months so care still has to be taken to avoid overstraining your muscles and joints.Exercise is best limited to gentle pelvic floor and abdominal exercises as well as swimming and walking.

The T5T version of The Five Tibetan Rites incorporates pelvic floor and lower abdominal strengthening and can be helpful in your recovery. However, once again, it is advisable to discuss this with your qualified pre & post natal yoga or Pilates instructor. T5T is great for finding that little bit of time for yourself as it takes around 10 – 15 mins per day. You can fit it in between sleeps, feeds and laundry!