The Art of Breath: A Complete Recap

It is important to note that if we begin breathing primarily through our nose we can regulate our nervous system much more efficiently

This past weekend Crossfit Kingfield had the pleasure of hosting Brian Mackenzie and Rob Wilson for the "Art of Breath" seminar.  Breathing is something that has captivated my interest for the past 18 months, and it was great to share that with everyone who attended. For those of you who were not able to attend, I wanted to share three major "takeaways" from the weekend (be on the look out for a seminar I will be leading on April 1st. Hint: it will be about breathing).

So here's what I learned:
1. As a species we prioritized the nose for a reason.
The common complaint about nose breathing is that it is hard.  Taking a breath in through your mouth is much more satisfying because we get the reassurance of a full breath. While this is not bad, we are cheating ourselves the benefit of getting more O2 into our blood stream, thus becoming much more efficient users of O2 and CO2.  It is important to note that if we begin breathing primarily through our nose we can regulate our nervous system much more efficiently, and change at a much faster rate.  In the coming weeks I will write some specific protocols that you can implement into your day, but for now try to breathe primarily through your nose whenever you are not talking.

2. Mobilize and you will breathe better (Tip: start with your hips).
The importance of position can not be overstated.  If you are not in a position, or able to get into a position in which you can access your diaphragm fully, you are most likely not maximizing your full potential.  Now I understand that working on your mobility is a bit of a process.  In today’s world we have become accustomed to seeking out things that yield quick results, and to be honest you don’t see many people PR’ing their thoracic spine mobility and then throwing it up on Instagram. However I can assure you that spending 10 minutes a day on a particular muscle group and working on deep, full breaths will keeping you moving longer. 

3. Should I train?  How’s your mood?
The common plight of today’s fitness enthusiasts revolves around the idea of actually taking a day off.  The 3 on 1 off culture has morphed into 3 workouts a day and 1 active rest day.  Now we must make the distinction that if someone is chasing a career in professional CrossFit they have no choice but to adhere to this schedule (note the professional before CrossFit), but if they are just training for the occasional competition and general wellness, we would recommend they talk with their coach and set a goal for their training year.  It is hard to understand what is going on with our bodies at all times, and as our training age continues to mature we find that we just don’t recover as fast as we once did.  This is why having a coach and a goal is paramount.  More often than not if you ask your coach if you should train the automatic response will be, “How do you feel?”.  If your answer is anything other than, “I am ready to train today”, we would recommend taking a day off.

In the coming weeks I will continue to go in depth about the "Art of Breath" seminar and how we can apply a more focused breathing practice to our training and our day-to-day lives.  Keep your calendars open for April 1st!

-Coach Danny