Retraining the brain…of an animated goldfish

We all know that we are creatures of habit.

Bad habits can be undone by retraining our brain..over time..with patience…and commitment.

As an habitual mouth breather I continuously inhaled a large amount of air. For many years I wasn’t conscious of doing so. I believed that my weight gain, poor sleep and general lack of energy was just the way I was. I just needed to watch what I ate and maybe do some more exercise. shutterstock_155315249

When I reflect on how I breathed I must have looked like an animated goldfish. But just as a goldfish cannot be sustained by breathing through its mouth, neither could I be adequately sustained. But unlike a goldfish my memory was more powerful than a 3 second flashback.

When I began to practise reducing the volume of air I inhaled it was difficult at first. My mouth was shut! My nostrils were too small and my brain screamed in silent protest at the rationing of air which I imposed upon my respiratory system. But with practised diligence over a dozen or so breathing sessions my carbon dioxide levels began to increase significantly.

And my pinhole nostrils began to widen. The bronchodilating effect of carbon dioxide widened my nostrils and bronchial passageways so that the passage of air into my lungs was noticeably improved.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Next time your nose is blocked gently pinch your nose with your thumb and forefinger. Whilst holding your breath nod and or shake your head. When you can hold your breath no longer release your pinch and experience the dilation of your nostrils as air freely rushes in!

Buteyko breathing attributes the accumulation of carbon dioxide to the dilation of your nostrils and of your body’s airways.

I found that my body reacted in many ways to the unaccustomed increase in carbon dioxide as I began to normalize my breathing. The respiratory settings in my brain also needed to adjust to the increased carbon dioxide and the consequent decrease in the volume of air I was inhaling. By practising a slower rate of breathing with a reduced amount of air and engaging my diaphragm (and not my chest) I eventually gained a regular rhythm to my breathing pattern.

Because of my goldfish genealogy I need to apply a strip of medical tape over my mouth at night. In this way the daily habits of nasal breathing are carried over whilst I sleep.

Although Buteyko breathing is challenging at first, and at times, quite difficult the benefits are enduring.

We must remember that what matters most to us in life is worth fighting for. Your health is something you should hold precious, for your sake and for the sake of your family and friends.

Nothing of any real and enduring value comes easily.

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