Do you want to know the secret behind unlocking your highest performance level?
It’s free. It’s legal. It’s breathing.
Stuart Sandeman, the founder of Breathpod, has spent years dedicated to the simple, yet highly effective, study of breathing. From a young athletic career to learning how to deal with grief, Stuart’s journey has taken him from peak performance to emotional resting. This has allowed him to better understand the purposes of the many breathing techniques at our disposal. He believes that by helping people to tune into their physical and emotional needs, they can become their most desired version of themselves.
We often hear that by stopping to breathe we can calm down, but there are other benefits too. Some techniques will find you more motivated, focused and driven when taking on a challenge. It’s not just for athletes, the art of breathwork has helped people from all walks of life improve their cognitive function and awareness – allowing them to overcome obstacles to reach their goals.
The busier you are the more you need to pause.
When you are training for an event, or even busy at work, you might find yourself fixated on activity. Fearing that a minute spent standing still is a minute wasted. In reality, the opposite is true. By pausing to study your breath and channel a breathing pattern that suits your need – focus, rest, motivation – you can naturally improve your cognitive function and identify what you need to progress.
When running you breathe using your diaphragm – from your belly. The below techniques use the diaphragm, too. Before you start, Stuart suggests that you close your eyes and tune into your body. Roll your shoulders. Have a little bit of a stretch. Loosen any tension with a little movement. If you feel dizzy or light headed just take a break, listen to your body.
For when you need a boost to get going before an early run, this technique will leave you energized and raring to get going.
Increasing the respiratory rate moves us into a sympathetic state. This means that the blood purifies and carbon dioxide levels decrease. By performing an active exhale you can help stimulate this. To do this, you want to breathe sharply and with purpose out through your nose.
“It’s like you are blowing something off your upper lip.”
To do this correctly when you exhale your navel will pull towards your spine. Your inhale should be passive – it will happen naturally. Do this for a few focused minutes each morning. Followed by some full deep diaphragmatic breaths, to get you powered up.
Note: If you are pregnant please avoid this exercise.
Get in the zone, and stay there, by preparing your mind and body with this practice.
Alternate nostril breathing is as simple as it sounds. To do this you will cover your left nostril and breathe in then cover the right to breathe out. Then you’ll reverse it. Cover your right nostril to breathe in and the left to breathe out.
“Imagine that you’re climbing a mountain. You climb up one side of the nose, climb down the other, then climb back up again and down to the beginning.”
It can be tricky coordinating this in the beginning so take your time to find the most comfortable way for you that allows maximum benefits – whether that’s using one hand or both. This particular technique helps to balance the brain and maintain focus.
This technique will cool down the mind and the body – perfect for a post-run refresher.
For those of you who can, you will start by rolling your tongue. You want to breathe in through the rolled tongue, like a straw, for a count of 5. Using your diaphragm and with relaxed shoulders, you will then close your mouth and breathe out slowly through your nose.
“I know not everyone can genetically do this, so there’s a variation.”
For those who can’t roll their tongue, gently clench your teeth, and breathe in through them. Repeat for five rounds and enjoy the cooling reward.
You can follow Stuart on Instagram and join his daily live streams. Or explore a host of videos to learn techniques that can help you maximize your potential.
Gear for Focus
A lot of effort goes into making our Performance Apparel feel effortless. Check out these items for easy comfort during your breathing practice – or any time you want to find focus.