A few months ago I was feeling some anxiety. I was not sleeping, becoming agitated easily, and my stress levels were noticeably elevated. This was unfamiliar to me as I have always had a calm demeanor. Maybe it was the pandemic or a big event that was in the near future. A few weeks later, an article caught my attention of a professional athlete that I follow on social media.
This elite athlete happens to be a big wave surfer and waterman. He uses breathing in his daily workouts. He spoke of how it heightens his performance and concentration among other things. Knowing breathing is a big component of both yoga and meditation as well, I read more into how it can calm and relieve stress.
I started to use a technique called box breathing before sleeping. 4 second inhale, 4 seconds hold, 4 second exhale. It only took about 5 minutes and I had a great night's sleep. I began to use this before a workout and when I would begin to feel anxious, as well. Within a few weeks I could see the benefits of these breathing techniques. I felt much calmer and more focused throughout the day.
The art of breathing has been studied to show a handful of benefits of properly done deep breathing and given time, the basics will grow into the useful skill within workouts. I still use these techniques when needed. I may never be holding my breath for 4 min while a 40ft wall of water is landing on my head or training for an ultra marathon like some of these elite athletes, but taking deep breath can really help your day in so many ways.
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