Back Squats and Speeches
You have a powerful, accessible tool to shift your mood, enhance your focus and to calm down. It’s called breathing. Since our autonomic nervous system handles most of our breathing, we don’t think of it often.
Last weekend, I watched something really interesting happen. I watched Alex give a best man speech at his brother's wedding. What I saw that most people didn’t, was him take 5 big deep breaths, in through his nose, out his mouth just before grabbing the mic and standing up in front of 200 people.
This protocol, a full inhale, partial exhale, called superventilation, over oxygenates your blood, giving you a bit of a rush, an energetic feeling. We first learned it 18 months ago at the Art of Breath Seminar. We use this protocol right before a lift to get our mind right, open up the airways and get mentally prepared for a challenging effort.
I watch Alex do that daily. When he’s preparing for a heavy back squat, a consultation with a new client or he’s gearing up for a 400m sprint. He can use the same protocol to center himself, and get prepared to give an important speech to a lot of people.
Using different breathing protocols, stolen from yoga, free divers and meditation practices, we can elicit different moods or responses. We can affect the carbon dioxide in our body, open up different positions and most importantly, affect our state, or the condition of our mind and body.
I often talk about how gym skills are transferable to life skills. This moment, that no one else saw, that elapsed over 15 seconds, was the embodiment of using the gym to help in life.
If you’re still struggling with your September Habit Challenge, ask us about breath work. If you’re not ready for a full on meditation session, this is a nice gateway. We can use different patterns to help sleep, change tasks, recover, or get a rush of energy.