Optimal Breathing Exercises
Breath of Life
The phrase breath of life originally comes from a verse in Genesis describing the creation of man. The emotions we feel and the thoughts of the mind link to the breath. It’s the universal law of correspondence at work. 
The quality and quantity of life force and the way it flows through us can enhance or inhibit our well-being.
Maximize Your Breathing Potential
When you control your breath, you can control your mind and emotions. Scientific research at Stanford University Medical Center shows how slow breathing induces tranquility and confirms the link between breath and states of being. 
You may have also heard of the iceman Wim Hoff method of breathing techniques backed by scientific research which demonstrates that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system can be voluntarily influenced. (2014, Knox et. al.)
Neuroscientists have found that every inhale you take prods your sympathetic nervous system (the classic “fight or flight” response, when faced with a threat.) increasing your heart rate and dilating the pupils slightly. Exhaling activates the parasympathetic system, slows down your heart rate, constricts the pupils, and has a calming and relaxing effect. 
"The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings." - TKV Desikachar
Buteyko Method 
The Buteyko Method consists of a series of breathing exercises and guidelines specifically designed to reduce over-breathing. Bringing breathing volume towards normal levels results in the drastic reduction of common breathing-related issues and brings many additional health benefits such as easy weight loss, greater energy, and better sleep.
Buteyko Method Test for Dysfunctional Breathing
Breathe in through your nose, then exhale and time how long you can hold your breath. Less than 25 seconds indicates you have an 89% chance of dysfunctional breathing.
There are numerous styles of breathing techniques you can learn to improve your breathing and keep your stress levels down.  
Start now by practicing slow deep breaths for a few minutes and think about setting aside some time to practice the style of breathing exercise that is right for you every day. Try any of the following:
Slow In / Slow Out
Breathe in for 4-5 steps and breathe out for 4-5 steps - This helps balance the  O2 you breathe in and the CO2 you breathe out
Fast in / Slow Out
Breathe in for 2 steps and breathe out for 4 steps -This breathing pattern is good for use on medium efforts and at the end of training as you begin to fatigue. Great breathing technique for tempo work, race pace work and race day.
Fast in / Fast Out
Breathe in for 2 steps and breathe out for 2 steps -This breathing pattern is great for shorter intervals and the end of a race.
Pursed Lip Breathing Benefits for Better Lung Function
Pursed lip breathing is a technique that allows you to control your oxygenation and ventilation. It gets rid of stale air and improves oxygen saturation in your lungs. It is done by breathing air in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth (pursed lips as if you are going to whistle) with a slow, controlled flow.
When your lips are pursed and exhalation is drawn out, it stimulates the autonomic nervous system and promotes relaxation. This has been shown to optimize lung mechanics and exercise tolerance for those with asthma, dyspnea, and other lung conditions. It is a popular technique that’s part of lung rehab programs as well as helping to reduce stress. Breathing in this manner is low-risk and allows people suffering from breathing issues to engage in physical activity more easily.
Exercise and Breathing
Our noses are specially designed to filter, humidify, and regulate the temperature of the air we inhale. When we breathe with our mouths, the air doesn’t get the same treatment—when mouth-inhaled air hits the respiratory passages, (the bronchi) it is often drier and colder, causing the bronchi to constrict. Mouth breathing produces a fight-or-flight response which is trauma to the airways.
Nose breathing during exercise boosts power, strength, and endurance. It protects you from upper airway infection — the #1 cause of sickness in athletes. And it supports quicker recovery and ease of movement, reducing your risk of injury.
Breathing through the nose during exercise is challenging initially, but small sips of water will naturally prompt you to keep your lips sealed. Our bodies can handle very high intensities of breathing entirely through the nose through patience and a lot of practice.
Benefits of Nose Breathing
• 50% Less Fight or Fight Stress
• 50% More Calm Parasympathetic Activation
• Lowers Heart Rate and Breath Rate
• Shorter Recovery Times and Better Endurance
• Increased Brain Wave Coherence
• Increased Production of Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide
A colorless gas is made up of one molecule of nitrogen and one molecule of oxygen and is produced by almost every cell of the human body. It plays an important role in a large variety of processes in the body, including inflammation, vasodilation, and neurotransmission. It’s considered to be one of the most crucial molecules when it comes to the health of our blood vessels.
Health Benefits of Nitric Oxide
Lowers Blood Pressure
boosts heart health by Decreasing Blood Clots
Boosts Sexual Arousal
Supports Brain Health
Aids Immune System
Improved immune function
May Boost Athletic Performance
Foods most rich in nitrates include red beets, arugula, leeks, radishes, and celery.

NASA Engineering and Safety Center
Breathing Assessment program
NASA is doing complex flight research to look at how pilots breathe to make it safer for them to fly. The research involved five pilots, four aircraft, two aircrew equipment configurations, and approximately 90 hours of flight at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. Read more about how this program is improving Flight One Breath at a Time. (Read Source: Armstrong Flight Research Center) 
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