My friend Anders Olsson is one of the world’s leading experts on optimal breathing.
When I first picked up his book, The Power of Your Breath1, I was blown away.
I had no idea that most people breathe incorrectly and how problematic that is for the body.
But the more I read, the more it made sense.
If every breath you take is suboptimal, you’ll continually put extra strain on organs like your brain, heart, and muscles.
And that, in turn, negatively affects your health, energy, and well-being in many ways.
Luckily, you can relearn the way you breathe. And it’s as simple as following three basic rules.
The 3 Rules of Optimal Breathing
1. Breathe Through Your Nose
Your nose is like a little factory that filters, humidifies, and conditions the air you breathe.
If you bypass that factory via your mouth, you’ll expose your lungs to much more raw, cold, and dry air containing viruses and bacteria.
You’ll also tend to “over-breathe,” which disrupts the oxygen-to-carbon dioxide levels in your body.
So, always breathe in and out through your nose — even when you’re sleeping or training.
2. Breathe Into Your Belly
Each time you breathe in and out, your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs.
This gas exchange is most efficient in the lower parts of your lungs.
So, every breath you take — again, through your nose — should go deep into your belly.
3. Exhale Longer Than You Inhale
Interestingly, the way you breathe affects the activation of your nervous system.
If you inhale longer than you exhale, your body will tend to wind up. Conversely, if you exhale longer than you inhale, your body will tend to calm down.
So, always try to breathe out more slowly than you breathe in — especially when you feel stressed.
Take a moment right now and repeat the following breathing pattern a few times:
- Inhale through your nose deep into your belly.
- Exhale through your nose slowly and thoroughly.
That’s it! Now you know what optimal breathing feels like.
The more you breathe this way, the more habitual it will become. And the better you breathe, the better your body and mind will function.