The pace of our breathing is a function of our autonomic nervous system (both sympathetic and parasympathetic). It is also true that consciously choosing the pace of our breathing creates a change in our autonomic nervous system. For example, when we are stressed, we breathe faster; but consciously slowing our breathing down relaxes us.
Most humans have unconscious breathing habits that limit emotions, feeling-states and even the experience of sexual pleasure. So how can we become more aware of these limiting breathing habits and disrupt them? One simple method to achieve this is choosing to practice breathing at different speeds and rhythms. YouTube has hundreds of paced breathing videos to guide such breathing explorations. Kaiser Hospital’s Positive Choice website offers 40 paced breathing videos to help you thrive. Explore various breathing speeds that make you feel good.
Below are four different breathing suggestions for you to try on:
DMT Alkaline Breathing (Guided, fast-paced, multiple pauses, 6:30 minutes)
5.5 Breaths per minute (Resonance Frequency Breathing, 11 minutes)
4.3 Breaths per minute (10 minutes)
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose or mouth. Fill your lungs to approximately 75% capacity. As much as possible, relax on the exhale. YouTube allows us to speed up or slow down the pace of each of its videos. By clicking the settings wheel on the lower right, you can choose your own playback speed.
Pause after each breath practice and ask yourself:
“Do I want to spend more time breathing at this pace?”
“What am I noticing in my body?”
After the three practices, ask yourself:
“If I were going to do 10 minutes of one of these breaths every day for a month, which pace would I choose? Why?”