For years, I had no interest in yoga.
Then, around four and a half years ago, I gave up smoking. Shortly after, I heard about abdominal breathing and practised it on and off.
More recently, I learnt about Coherent Breathing, a breathing technique that centres around a person taking equal breaths (inhale, exhale) at around 6 or 5 breaths a minute, ideally 5. About a month later, I started Resistance Breathing (sometimes known as Ocean Breath).
Finally, three weeks ago, I began practising simple yoga moves.
Three weeks on, I’ve noticed a substantial improvement in lower back stiffness, left shoulder stiffness and a throbbing Achilles Tendon.
I look forward to learning new postures and movements and seeing further improvements in health.
I haven’t blogged much recently. After finishing a major piece of writing – crime fiction – and returning to work, I needed a break of sorts. I’ve been polishing my piano repertoire with Mozart, Chopin and Liszt, and practising my four languages.
I’ve also found time to deepen my interest in breathing. I first became curious during a stint of CBT, during which the practitioner gave me a book and CD that included various exercises. At the time, I was still smoking – quite heavily, in fact – and I had a high rate of breaths per minutes, roughly 16/17.
Four years on, my breathing rate has dropped to 10 or 11, and I feel much calmer. Quitting smoking played a crucial role in this, but so has abdominal breathing.
I don’t feel qualified to make suggestions about which breathing exercises people should attempt – but clearly simple breathing techniques done in a relaxed manner should benefit most people. Obviously, anyone with a medical condition should check first, but generally there’s something for everyone.
Just a few of my thoughts.