Breathing Faq

Special guidelines for breathing practices

  • If you have any medical condition please consult with your doctor or health care provider before attempting 
  • Empty stomach (at least 2 hr if you have eaten something)
  • Best time is in the morning, as soon as you get up and go to the toilet
  • Don’t do it if you are feeling really hungry
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Always practise breathing in a safe environment.  
  • Never practise breathing techniques in water unattended. 
  • Find a comfortable and peaceful place if possible
  • Make it part of life, don’t find it a chore
  • Don’t do it beyond your capacity, listen to your body, this is one reason why people lose interest as they get exhausted too quickly and too early
  • Progress slowly and steadily
  • Sit straight with your spine straight
  • The idea is to feel fresh and energized after breathing not exhausted
  • Start the practise with an open mind and set your intention
  • Always use common sense
  • Please do not do in a hurry or haste rather perform with focus and be relaxed
  • Don’t practise breathing if you have glaucoma, epilepsy , hypertension, high blood pressure or any other serious health condition. Please always consult with your doctor first.
  • People with emphysema, bronchitis, asthma should start with light breathing exercises
  • Ultimately it’s a practise where you mind, body and soul becomes one
  • It’s a journey to change everything for good not a quick fix

What’s the importance of correct posture during breathing exercises?

The correct sitting position is where the head, neck, chest and abdomen are aligned perfectly straight with your spine. This  allows perfect alignment for muscle breathing as minimum energy is needed to maintain this posture. Also, the brain doesn’t have to work hard to maintain balance and different muscles involved are not over stressed. The idea is to use the strength of the right  posture to focus on your breathing. 

What is the optimum resting rate of breathing?

Slow breathing has been found to promote physiological balance and health.  The ideal breathing rate is 6 breaths (6 in and 6 out)  per minute but it can range between 4 -7 breaths per minute.  Our HRV (heart rate variability) is highest at your optimum breathing rate.  Heart rate variability with higher numbers is associated with improved physiological well being and quality of life. On the other hand lower numbers in HRV can mean your body is under stress from a number of things including exercise, psychological events, or other stressors.

The idea ratio for breathing  is (1:2) which means exhalation is twice the inhale. With a long and slow exhalation, our parasympathetic nervous system gets activated restoring the inner balance especially in today’s busy lifestyle.

Quality of oxygen supply is not increased by breathing more but instead a sympathetic nervous system is activated.  This can trigger panic attacks and increase anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.  Remember fear triggers faster breathing, which increases fear.

What is overbreathing?

Overbreathing is breathing too much from the upper part of the body and getting rid  of too much carbon dioxide.  This   restricts the blood flow to the brain making you feel light headed. If done consciously for a short burst as shown in the Mr Activated breathing method, it  can be really beneficial but as a lifestyle it can lead to hypoxia with less oxygen available to tissues and cells.   Your respiratory rate is higher when you over breath.

What is shallow breathing?

Shallow breathing is  when you breathe shorter in and out than normal breathing. Shallow breathing does not allow breathing in of sufficient amounts of oxygen and removal of sufficient amounts of carbon dioxide. Some people do this subconsciously then under stress but it should be a way of breathing that you do not want to do for an extended period of time.

Quality of oxygen supply is not increased by breathing more but instead a sympathetic nervous system is activated.  This can trigger panic attacks and increase anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.  Remember fear triggers faster breathing, which increases fear.

The importance of good exhalation and prolong exhalation

Exhalation activates our parasympathetic system which is our relax  and digest mode. This is a mode  we want to be in for longer periods of time. A good exhalation results naturally in a subsequent fuller and unforced inhalation.

 

Prolonged exhalations have many benefits including:

  • Effective toxin release and lymphatic system
  • Subsequent inhalation is deep and improve overall breath
  • Triggers the rest and digest mode
  • Relaxes the mind and gives a calm state
  • Stimulates vagus nerve

What are the different breathing postures?

To start off with just choose a sitting or lying position that is comfortable. Ideally you want your back straight. With any meditation pose you may use a cushion to support you when you sit down.

  1. Sitting  posture (Easy pose)
  • Sit on the floor and keep your back straight.
  • Cross your legs as the children do at school or at home when they are sitting on the mat. This is called “easy pose” or Sukhasana in Sandscript. 
  • If you can then you can do a half lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana, and then aim to work up to lotus pose, but that of course comes with time.). To try half lotus use your hands to bring your right foot on top of your left calf with the sole of the foot facing upwards.
  1. Chair Posture
    If you find that sitting on the floor is not comfortable for you, you can of course sit on a chair. When you sit do not lean back as this may cause you to fall asleep.
  •  Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your back as straight as possible.
  •  Rest your hands on your knees, with your palms facing downward.

 

  1. Diamond Posture
    This pose is a variation of the sitting posture, and some people might find it more comfortable, especially if you have back discomfort.
  • Kneel on the floor.
  • Sit back on your heels.
  • Keep your knees and legs as close together as possible.
  • Place the palms of your hands on top of your thighs.
  1. The Lotus Posture
    Many people believe this is the ideal position for meditation, but it is not for everyone. All postures, if done safely and correctly, can result in effective meditation.
  • Stretch your leg and knees.
  • Sit on the floor, or you may use a cushion.
  • Place your lower left leg on your upper right thigh. This is also called the Half Lotus.
  • Place your lower right leg on your upper left thigh.

You may reverse steps c and d by using the opposite leg, if the opposite cross-legged position is more comfortable for you.

Why is breath holding an important part of a breathing regime?

Conscious breath holding has many positive benefits like increased energy, calmness, resilience to stress and mental power. It increases our blood oxygen carrying capacity for increased performance  After holding your breath, the subsequent breaths are deeper and faster. As the amount of carbon dioxide increases. It stimulates our lower respiratory centre which sends a signal to the external intercostal muscles to deeper and faster our breathing. For example, when you do a form of cardio workout without thinking your breathing becomes faster and deeper to take in more oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. However, safe breath holding  increases our responsiveness to low  oxygen and high carbon dioxide environments. We can get relaxation through spontaneous pauses when we are doing a breathing session. These pauses help the mind experience a perfect calm state!

Breath holding practice leads to both a hypoxic (lack of oxygen) and a hypercapnic (high carbon dioxide) response increasing endurance with lower sensitivity to Co2 that can reduce the build of lactic acid

When you consciously hold your breath, it leads to Intermittent hypoxia which increases the hemoglobin levels by stimulating erythropoietin production from the kidney. Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that plays a key role in the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells improve o2 carrying capacity of the body.

Why is it important to do abdominal breathing or use our digrapham to breathe?

Breathing from the diaphragm allows for more oxygen to flow into our body  by pushing the diaphragm down and allowing a larger air to flow to the lungs and encourages full oxygen exchange. The amount of carbon dioxide present  is very important in order to release oxygen from the bloodstream to then go where it’s needed, such as the tissues of our body. 

ON the other hand, when we breathe shallow or from the chest which is overbreathing  we breathe out carbon dioxide too soon causing levels of carbon dioxide to decrease which affects the gas exchange. 

When you inhale, diaphragm contracts and moves downward allowing for more space in the chest cavity which allows lungs to expand. When you exhale, the opposite happens — your diaphragm relaxes and

What are the benefits of breath hold after hyperventilation or power breaths?

Breath holding  after hyperventilation or power breaths  reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. Breath holding is consciously influencing the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance. After power breaths most of all the carbon dioxide is exhaled as the cleansing process and supply of oxygen is increased due to which chemoreceptors (cells that are responsible for alerting us to breathe) are relaxed. In turn our breath response is delayed for some time, so of course we can hold our breath longer than normal.

This type of breath hold should be avoided by anyone with severe hypertension, active heart disease, glaucoma, epilepsy, hernia, etc. Always consult with your doctor before commencing.

What is conscious breathing and why it’s important?

We can consciously alter our breathing to influence different functions in our body both physically and mentally. Breath provides life energy and we can influence that to our advantage.

Poor breathing disturbs the rhythm of the body. Breathing exercise helps establish natural rhythm and you get time to listen to yourself “internally” by focusing on what is happening “within”.

How do l prepare for a breathing session?

Comfortable clothing and empty stomach ideally before  breakfast or few hours before any meal.

Is intermittent hypoxia good through breath holding?

Intentional intermittent hypoxia  done correctly has many positive health benefits. It can give your body several positive adaptive responses. These responses can prepare the body to better handle  future hypoxic stresses  and may also provide some immunity against unwanted pathogens. The literature shows that our nervous system can increase the production of growth factors during a hypoxic episode. A growth factor growth  is a naturally occurring substance capable of stimulating a number of things including cell proliferation (causing cell death) and  wound healing. These are a number of reasons published in the literature why intermittent hypoxia is now being used to treat multiple degenerative diseases and for the enhancement of athletic and sports performances. 

However, when you mention hypoxia to people, they may think it’s actually not a good thing to do, it has a negative connotation to it. The reason for this is if in a hypoxic state for too long, cell death occurs and if you continue to stay in hypoxia tissue damage and death will occur. The reason for this is while in a state of  hypoxia the level of carbon dioxide rises in the bloodstreams along with the depletion of oxygen. However on the flip side if it occurs for  short duration it stimulates positive changes in the body. The Mr Activated Breathing Method allows you to experience this in the correct manner.

Do you recommend doing Mr Activated breathing method before peak performance?

The Mr Activated breathing creates extra circulation of highly oxygenated and alkaline blood which goes deep into your cells where ATP can be produced longer and far more efficiently. Unwanted waste products are removed and the production of lactic acid is prevented. Deep breathing lessons the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles.

Breathing awakens our nervous system and creates the state of high alert to get our body & mind ready for peak performance, It releases natural opioids and cannabinoids and in turn, these trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin, effectively blocking out any pain.

As the pH level of your blood goes up, certain pain receptors are shut off preparing you for peak performance

Why exhale first before you start breathing exercises?

Begin each breathing session with exhalation to slow the heart rate down, empty lungs and create space for a fresh breathing cycle.

Does the breathing help with weight loss?

Yes, breathing techniques increase your metabolism and alkalises of the body. When you over-breathe (shallow through the chest), the way most people breathe, you tend to reduce the pH of your body, making you acidic. When your body is acidic, the body stores excess acid in fat cells in an effort to reduce the acid’s effects on vital organs and you can gain weight.  When you are at the ideal pH which is a little more alkaline, your body is oxygenated and you can burn excess fat and lose weight. Breathing is the burning fire inside you to burn excessive fat. 

How breathing increases our metabolism?

If we breathe right , this is our secret weapon in increasing our metabolic rate and fighting the cravings. Problems are seen when people don’t take in enough oxygen. We cannot accumulate oxygen, consequently we must repeatedly provide our cells with fresh oxygen, so they can work efficiently. Breathing allows oxygen to enter our bodies Oxygen provides the fuel that runs our bodies through a process called oxidation. Oxidation changes the food we eat and the liquid we drink into energy, which is used by our body.

We must remember that our breathing patterns can change throughout the day due to for example our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Most of the population is breathing inefficiently, taking in only ⅕ of the needed oxygen. This causes  our body to not work as efficiently, slowing down the metabolism, making our livers sluggish as well as our digestion just to name a few

Is there a correlation between our breath and our mind?

Yes, breath is the bridge between the body and the mind.  The way we breathe is the way we live. It’s an indicator of the emotional and physical well being that we are experiencing.  Our breathing patterns change through the day depending on physical activity and state of mind. Therefore, we can easily influence our emotions, our health and our mind through our breath.

For e.g. when we are calm and relaxed our breathing is smooth but when we have anxiety it’s shallow and erratic.

Can breathing practices help increase our attention levels?

Attention is a very important factor for remaining focused and performing well.  An inability to perform well or being poorly focused increases the feelings of burnout, not feeling enough, and self-pity in an individual. Trials (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874)  conducted in such individuals confirmed that if such category of fatigued and burnt-out people are subjected to practice deep and focused breathing for a considerably long period, it helps them to enhance their attention levels, and their attention greatly remained focused and sustained towards their basic objective of interest at that particular time.

This type of breathing is highly beneficial for all such people who are looking out for options to improve this habit of lacking attention and focus in their lives. By being attentive and focusing on each progressive and successive breath, a person is indirectly diverting all of his focus, attention, and mental energies towards carrying out this one simple task. This helps the brain to further focus and coordinate with its highly complex centers to divert the entire attention of the individual towards that one particular habit or activity that the individual is performing at that particular time.

Research (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28954895/ ) has also revealed that focused and slow-paced breathing helps in activating the “Insula”, which is a region of the human brain. The insula, in turn, regulates the body’s autonomic nervous system which helps in increasing the overall body’s feelings of awareness and also helps to reduce feelings of fear, anger, and stress. Along with the insula, the “Anterior Cingulate Cortex” region was also found to be activated in all those people who were focused on every single breath. This cortical region is specifically concerned with moment-to-moment awareness and orientation in a person.
All in all, this habit of deep and focused breathing is a very helpful and healthy technique for everyone in general. 

What is the Importance of Carbon Dioxide which is considered a waste gas?

We all should know that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out CO2, but carbon dioxide is not just a waste gas,our body has many uses for this magical gas.  We may not be aware however that the oxygen concentration does not change significantly in our body.

  •  When the carbon dioxide concentration of the blood is too high, our blood becomes more acidic than normal. This informs the nervous system that we need to increase the rate and depth of our breathing. 
  • When carbon dioxide is too low, our blood becomes more alkaline than normal and a decrease in the rate and depth of breathing should occur. Hyperventilation lowers the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood without significantly changing oxygen concentration. 
  •  The amount of carbon dioxide present in our blood stream is very important in order to release oxygen from the bloodstream to then go where it’s needed, such as the tissues of our body.  Therefore, the amount of carbon dioxide determines the amount of oxygen to be released.
  • Carbon dioxide  optimizes lung functions by redirecting blood to areas of the lungs where there is little blood.

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress is defined as a disturbance in the balance between the

production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and the ability of the cells to detoxify these

compounds. It’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals are generated by the normal breakdown of oxygen during metabolism.   It happens all the time in our bodies but  the issue arises when the antioxidants cannot “mop up” all the free radicals. These free radicals left behind can manifest themselves as cancer, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases later in life. Consciously Breath Holding can Reduce Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress.

How many times should I practise Mr Activating breathing techniques?

It’s  recommended doing the breathing exercises regularly and making it part of the daily routine. There are some breathworks that are used for therapy purposes and can’t be done on a daily basis. The  Mr Activated Breathing Method can be done daily! When you do breathwork regularly, it strengthens the neural pathways to  your inner intelligence and subconscious.

What are different types of feeling and reaction I can experience during breathing practise ?

  •  Tingling sensation through the body or particular areas where energy is moving
  •  Temperature changing 
  •  Muscle tightness
  •  Itchiness
  •  Emotional release
  •  Muscle contraction or cramping. This muscle cramping is called tetany. It is temporary, it is caused by the lower levels of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream and will return to normal once you go back to breathing “normally”.

What if you can't hold my breath anymore?

Shrug your shoulder to go past your limits even if it’s for 5 more seconds, the idea is to find comfort in discomfort.

What if you feel light headed?

When you breathe too fast you remove the carbon dioxide through exhalation, causing you to feel light headed. Breathing in through your nose and out with the mouth allows you to breathe slower and inutern not get light headed. If you still feel light headed please stop and take a break.

Nasal or mouth breathing?

Nasal breathing is the best.  It has been noted in the literature that when comparing both nose and mouth breathing, nose breathing has great advantages over mouth breathing. When the air passes through the nose, it is purified, and moisture and warmth are added to ensure that humidified air free of all major pollutants reaches the lungs. Nose breathing also increases the concentration of inspired oxygen. Nitric oxide (NO) released by nasal airways is shown to increase pulmonary oxygen exchange efficiency resulting in an improvement in blood oxygen levels and control blood pressure.

Common symptoms of mouth breathing include bad breath, dry mouth, ear and throat infections, malaligned teeth, flatter facial features, long jaws, and sleep disorders. Few factors can cause a person to breathe through the mouth, and that includes nasal congestion, poor sleep, enlarged tonsils, tongue-tie(anatomical defect where a small band of tissue-restricted tongue movement), anxiety, birth defects, and asthma. Please consult a healthcare professional if you can’t breathe through your nose as you may have an underlying issue.

Why squeeze the brain on the recovery breath?

When you  squeeze the brain, you bring more cerebrospinal fluid to your brain which assists the brain by providing protection, nourishment, and waste removal.

Why shouldn't I check the time while holding breath?

If you continually check your time, it seems you hold your breath for less time. Too much focus on the time creates tension. Test it the next time you breath hold and see for yourself.  I think if you really want to know the time, set a timer to go off after a certain amount of time instead.

Critics say that Mr Activated Breathwork is dangerous because it is hyperventilation ?

Breathwork if done properly and consciously  is different from the hyperventilation people feel some time. When you hyperventilate you don’t control your breathing in a  conscious way. Hyperventilation is typically upper chest breathing and  it tends to be rapid and unsteady. You exhale more than you inhale,  causing a rapid reduction of carbon dioxide in the body.

In Breathwork, the in and out breath are intentionally both long, deep and rhythmic.

I personally never experienced anything that felt dangerous or scared me (apart from processing fear itself). But always start slow, especially if you have never done breath work before.

Why is it beneficial to do breathing in groups?

When breathing in a group, a collective energy forms amplify the effect and creates this bond between people of the group. That collective energy can help lift up those who have difficulty keeping the pace of their breath going. It’s an experience where the group is creating these electric vibrations together and awakening the power to free themselves. 

People who breathe together in a special rhythm create collective coherence. According to HeartMath, when we are in a coherent state, virtually no energy is wasted because our systems are performing optimally and there is synchronization between heart rhythms, the respiratory system, blood-pressure rhythms, etc.

What is HRV and how breathing Influences HRV

Heart rate variability or HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat in milliseconds. Generally, a low HRV indicates that the body is under stress or danger that could be from anything, for example, psychological events, exercise, internal or external stressors. Higher HRV indicates that the body has a strong ability to fight against stressful conditions. Every inhalation stimulates the sympathetic nervous system where heart rates go up and every exhalation it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system where heart rate goes down. 

Through breathing slowly and  in rhythms we can create cardiac coherence as heart rate begins to vary in a consistent way with each breath – a more efficient use of energy.  HRV peaks when breathing rate is about 6 breaths per minute and varies in between 4-7 breaths per minute for different people.

I am getting visuals, is this normal?

Completely OK and normal, visualizations are your body releasing energy, the more breathing sessions you do the more visualizations you can get.

Can kids do it?

Supervised and very slow on simple breathing exercises like 3-6 (three seconds inhale and 6 seconds exhale).

What is the best time of the day to do breathwork?

Do it in the morning and for best results do it empty stomach.

Does breathing suppress your immune system?

When we think of our immune system, if it is suppressed then that’s something that is not good for our body  as we can be prone to infections, inflammation and diseases. However, you may not know that your immune system can be split up into two sections. The first part is the section we are all familiar with, the system involved with helping our body fight against infection and diseases. The second part of our immune system involves all white blood cells and its ability to develop immunity against the pathogens. The second part of our immune system is what we want to develop and enhance.   The Mr Activated breathing method, does just that, it increases the amount of white blood cells. The breathing method is not just a one off thing, where you do it once, instead it is something that should be developed and perfected over time. Therefore results and benefits from the breathing method are seen gradually and over time. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t “see” results the first time you attempt it.

What to expect in longer breathing sessions?

In longer breathing sessions there may be a variety of physical and emotional experiences you may move through. You may feel lots of sensation (or maybe even nothing!)  in your physical body like tingling, tightness, or hot/cold sensations. As you breathe, emotions often come to the surface – and with them tears often arise too.  The recommendation l suggest is, any emotion that is ready to be released, don’t try to block it, just release what needs to come out.  Releasing emotions is a pathway to deeper connection as they are signals from our deeper self that something needs to be recognized.  Just let go of anything that needs to be released, You can simile, cry, laugh, dance… there is no judgement of any sort and you are in your safe space ready to release what needs to come out.

What is hyperventilation?

Hyperventilation is caused by the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood. It is not caused by the amount  of oxygen in the blood as most people think. Our blood is usually near saturation and cannot carry any more oxygen. Therefore, hyperventilation has a minimal effect on the concentration of oxygen in the blood. It’s all about the CO2 !  As one increases the rate and depth of breathing, more carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood and is exhaled into the atmosphere,  making the blood more alkaline (or basic).

How do our bodies know what rate and depth of breathing is appropriate?

Since the oxygen concentration does not change significantly, our nervous system obtains more useful information from monitoring the acidity/alkalinity of the blood. When the carbon dioxide concentration of the blood is too high, our blood becomes more acidic than normal. This informs the nervous system that we need to increase the rate and depth of our breathing. When carbon dioxide is too low, our blood becomes more alkaline than normal and a decrease in the rate and depth of breathing should occur. Hyperventilation lowers the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood without significantly changing oxygen concentration. Therefore, the blood becomes more alkaline and the nervous system interprets this as a situation in which the rate and depth of breathing should be reduced. Therefore, after conscious hyperventilation, a person should be able to hold his/her breath longer than when observing a normal breathing pattern. 

How long do you have to breath hold for growth factors to be produced?

It’s not a competition, as long as you can. I recommend going past your limits for a few extra seconds as you are consciously overriding the natural urge.

I am not seeing any results after a few weeks of breath work?

It’s a journey of your connection to your superpower, each day you are getting better and better. You destroying weakness and getting strong as the journey continues.

Can l breath in through my mouth to get air in?

I recommend breathing through your nose when you are starting out with this breathing practise. In general, nose breathing is better for your health but for short conscious breathing daily practises you can use the mouth but it shouldn’t become the default way of breathing.

My ears are ringing after doing Mr Activated breathing, is this normal?

While breathing you may hear or notice ringing in your ears while doing the breath work and sometimes even after you finish. It should subside after a few minutes as it is due to change in blood pressure while breathing. If it does not subside please see a healthcare professional.

Can breathing help me focus?

es, breathing correctly and with intention changes your brain chemistry, it can activate different areas of the brain. The way you breath (the patterns) affect the levels of noradrenaline in your brain and in turn your whole body. Noradrenaline (also known as Norepinephrine) is a hormone and a neurotransmitter,  a chemical messenger which sends signals across nerve endings in the body and is known to play a role, together with other hormones  in helping us focus and altering our mood. Low levels of noradrenaline can lead to ADHD, depression, fatigue. On the other end, stress increases the levels of noradrenaline  also resulting in an imbalance. Therefore, with breathing exercise you can find the balance and  both breathing and attention becomes synchronized .Activated breathing can make you calmer and more relaxed allowing you to have a clear state of mind which can allow you to focus more intently on the task at hand.

Can breathing help my memory?

Yes. Deep, conscious breathing reduces your flight-or-fight response, instead it activates your rest and digest mode. This makes the nervous system calmer which sequentially  increases your working memory. Your working memory is defined as “one of the brain’s executive functions. It’s the ability to hold on to new information so we can turn around and use it in some way. Working memory allows us to hold information without losing track of what we’re doing”.

How does stress shrink your brain and affect breathing?

Long term stress causes your cells to die. When you are stressed, cortisol levels increase and the volume of the brain decreases. It has been noted through brain scans that stress can lead to a reduction  in size of the brain area associated with emotions, metabolism, and memory. Chronic stress has also been shown to increase the size of your amygdala (which is also in the brain).  The amygdala lets your brain know when there is a threat, and now as it increases in size this also affects your breathing as your body goes into flight or fight mode and your breathing becomes shallow, erratic and short.

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