I finished reading Breath, and enjoyed it throughout. The first half of the book tells of the recovery of the capacity of the author. Like many, he suffered from sleep apnea. That part of the book contains advice that is broadly applicable.
Then it explores done a little breath work and looked up the Wim Hof Method, I wasn’t shocked. But I am intrigued. And, it looks like we’ve discovered and forgotten these principles so many times.
One of the biggest surprises for me, was the notion that we’re a society of chronic over-breathers. Breathing less may be the path away from the feeling of a shortness of breath. Especially with the plethora of stressors in modern society.
So, breathe less. CO2 is a vasodilator. So, having higher carbon dioxide in your blood lets the oxygen penetrate deeper into your tissues. Lengthening your exhales is relaxing, and achieves this. And you can lengthen your inhales to match.
Blood oxygen will actually stay similar through different patterns of breathing. CO2 fluctuates far more. And the urge to breathe based on CO2, but the sensitivity is conditioned. Faster breathing is considered a symptom of panic attacks, but what if it was the cause? By becoming accustomed to higher CO2 levels, cause and effect may be lessened.
Monks can warm themselves enough to bake icy sheets. Which is pretty cool. But, why aren’t we all nailing the fundamentals?