Breathe in. Now breathe out. Congratulations, you are alive!
You can go several weeks without food. You can go several days without water. But if you stopped breathing for more than a few minutes, it is likely that you would not survive. Yet most of us don’t even think about this simple and critical action, and how we can use it to improve our lives.
Just ask former world champion free diver Tanya Streeter. In 2002, Tanya broke the record for the deepest underwater dive that any human has ever done (525 feet! Whoa!), male or female, on a single breath!
“It’s like a reset button, isn’t it?”, said Tanya. “I think there’s just the calming aspect of a deep breath that we know physiologically has benefits to it.”
“If you can use your breath in different ways for strengthening or advancing yourself in some way, then it’s magical. It’s almost like an elixir.”
When we know how to breathe correctly, we can calm ourselves down and make better decisions. We become more present in the moment and see things in a much more relaxed perspective. Of course, that would be something that could help all of us out!
Brad Kearns knows all about the importance of breathing. He is a former pro triathlete, a Bestselling author, and top-ranked high jumper. And if you hate slow golf, Brad can relate. He holds the Guinness World Record in golf for completing the fastest hole ever played, a 503-yard par-5, played in one minute and thirty-eight seconds! AND HE BIRDIED IT.
“I notice how easy it is to get worked up on the golf course, and I'll start taking shallow, panting breaths”, Brad told me.
“When I notice my panic breathing and can recalibrate, I control my entire physiology. It's a great strategy to take a few deep breaths every time you walk onto a green or a tee, and start to build this into your pre-shot protocols.”
Here are three simple breathing practices that you can implement into your life anytime! They take practice and some patience to improve, but they are totally free and accessible anytime.
The mouth is not made to breathe. The nose is.
“The mouth is a hole”, said Patrick McKeown, Bestselling author of The Oxygen Advantage. “Air comes straight into the mouth, down the throat, and it does nothing else.”
“The nose has more than 30 functions”, he said. “Imagine a player on the field that has to be focusing on the game in front of him, and also reading and scanning the entire pitch. Nasal breathing helps with that.”
"Nasal diaphragmatic breathing allows you to instantly calm the fight or flight response”, said Brad Kearns.
Practice calmly breathing in and out through your nose in your day-to-day life.
Exercising with your mouth closed-
Once you have gotten better at nasal breathing in everyday life, you can bring the practice into your workouts for an even greater effect.
“When you do physical exercise with your mouth closed”, said McKeown, “carbon dioxide in the blood increases, and as carbon dioxide in the blood increases, hemoglobin, which is the main carrier of oxygen, releases oxygen more readily to the tissues. So working muscles are better oxygenated by breathing through the nose during physical exercise.”
“Nose breathing is also activating the diaphragm”, he said. “Diaphragm breathing also provides stabilization for the spine. Functional breathing and function movement go together.”
Try keeping your mouth closed during easy bouts of cardio, like walking. We prefer keeping our heart rates low, using simple heart rate zone methods (The MAF Training Method is our favorite!). You can also try briefly holding your breath as you move, as long as you don’t push the practice too far!
Meditation is a great way to breathe more mindfully.
“The human body is designed to heal itself”, said James Nestor, Bestselling author of Breath. “There’s constant regeneration happening in the body, so your breathing is going to allow you to shift into separate states to have that happen more efficiently.”
“As boring as this sounds, that breathing awareness is the number one thing.”
Try sitting down and calmly breathing in and out through your nose Try to notice your thoughts and emotions coming in and out. Don’t judge them, just watch them. We even recommend using apps like Headspace or Calm (our favorite!) to help you get started.
By incorporating proper breathing techniques, you can improve your game and stay focused and calm during your rounds!
Questions? Message us at-