How to Improve Your Breathing IQ and Why This Is Important For Wellness

Adiel Gorel

Are You Breathing Correctly? It May Be More Difficult Than You Think

Picking up the thread of discussions I have had previously with Patrick McKeown, James Nestor and others, I am once again visiting the topic of breathing right in my latest podcast. I speak with clinical psychologist, author, and leading expert in mental health and fitness, Dr. Belisa Vranich about the profound impact that breathing is having on our mental and physical wellbeing. We discuss the problems incorrect breathing is causing and the benefits of breathing correctly.

Breathe! It can be life altering.

Dr. Vranich explains how as a psychologist, she was involved in measuring IQ, personality and so on, and how she then started to look at the biology or biometrics of our wellbeing. She realized that there is a psychological element to breathing, which has both conscious and unconscious elements. She has been teaching teachers how to breathe and how to teach breathing, and has made it her life’s work to get the message out there – about the importance of breathing right. Most often, when people have changed over to the right way of breathing they have called it life altering!
Breathing is a simple, obvious tool that people can use to help themselves. Simply by engaging the right muscles to breathe in a deliberate, measurable way, people can resolve a host of health issues – both mental and physical. It can help to calm down the nervous system by reducing stress. It can help with the process of grieving and offer closure on an upsetting event. It is able to ease problems such as acid reflux and even promotes healing. A lot of the time, people consult with her after having seen many specialists, and the gap in the person’s medical history often has to do with breathing.

Breathing biohack.

Modern life being what it is, 9 out of 10 people are not breathing right, says Dr. Vranich. We’ve forgotten how to do it right and we’ve missed out on the importance of it. What is needed today, is to look seriously at pulmonary health in the same way that the medical community has been looking at cardiac health for the past few decades. The way to do this is to go back to the basics of breathing – to expand the middle as we inhale and to narrow it as we exhale. During our chat we also spoke about the Feldenkrais Method, which she agrees is a vital tool for good health.
The fact is that we tend to be braced in a way that is physical as well as psychological, which is what prevents us from breathing right. The way that we brace in the middle of the body, which is a predatory, preparatory stance, is what needs to change. We need to unbrace, to squeeze on the exhale, to use the diaphragm in the way that it is meant to, she explains. She says the diaphragm is her favorite muscle of the body because of how it impacts the organs above and below it.
Breathing is so fundamental and yet so many of us do it wrong. 
Many of us are simply denying ourselves the tremendous benefits that come from doing it right. Dr. Belisa Vranish speaks passionately about this simple but hugely empowering way to get healthier, both physically and mentally. Listen to our conversation here.
Adiel Gorel

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