Hello everyone, Ive been reading the 8 steps to a pain free back for a long time now trying to figure out what i was doing wrong. I found out Ive been breathing incorrectly which was causing numerous of issues such as; pain, anxiety, and fatigue. I would really like to know if there is a video of esther gokhale teaching the breathing technique. I purchased the DVD and she doesnt talk about how to breathe. I know the book mentions to breathe from the chest but that seems to make my symptoms worse. I would really like a detailed explanation on how to breathe (inhalation and exhalation) and what muscles are used so it could help guide me.
June 22, 2017 - 3:16pm | 6 posts#1
2 weeks 6 days ago
11/27/2011 - 10:29am
Hi ace9224, you are so right about breathing being such an integral part of our well-being. In the June 2017 edition of the Positive Stance newsletter, Esther looks at breathing a little more in depth and describes a breathing technique called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, a style of meditative breathing. A quick Google search will bring up quite a few examples. Just make sure you are set up in a nice stack sit so your body can reap the full benefit of breathing as a spinal massage! I've taken this excerpt from the newsletter.
You place the tips of your middle and pointer finger of the right hand between your eyebrows and use your thumb and ring finger to open and close your nostrils. Now follow this pattern:
1. Inhale through one nostril for four counts,
2. Hold (with both ring finger and thumb closing the nostrils) for eight counts
3. Exhale through the other nostril for eight counts.
Inhale left (4), hold (8), exhale right (8), inhale right (4), hold (8), exhale left (8). After a few rounds of this, the inhalations become quite dramatic (especially in a room full of people practicing during the cold season) and the exhales are harder to slow. I always remind my students that breathing is a priority (!) and that they should do whatever is necessary to get the breath they need. If you have a stuffy nose, for example, this might mean breathing through the mouth.
Since starting to work with primal posture, I have realized some new uses for Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. Most of us have shallow breath. With muscle tension in our backs and chests, typically brought on by poor posture, it is difficult for the lungs to fully expand. We end up breathing enough to not die - and that’s about it! Even after we learn to restructure ourselves and melt away unnecessary muscle tensions, this shallow breathing pattern often remains out of habit. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama helps change that. You breathe more deeply than usual doing this technique – and also after. It’s as though you have primed the pump.
Muscles all around the spine and rib cage are gently stretched and massaged through deep breathing, which can be therapeutic and relaxing for the entire system
You will discover that deep breathing alongside healthy structure induces the tissues around your torso to move constantly. You have now found your inner massage therapist and an important key to self-healing. Your back muscles get a gentle stretch, your discs rehydrate, and the circulation around your spinal tissues improves - simply by breathing more deeply. As you adopt this habit, you will breathe your way to a healthier life.
3 years 11 months ago
11/04/2016 - 10:24am
Hi sheelagh, thanks for the information!
But I would like to know the correct way to breathe. Example: should I breathe from diaphragm or chest? If you could give me a detailed explanation about this, I would greatly appreciate it!
2 weeks 6 days ago
11/27/2011 - 10:29am
Hi Ace, how I wish I or one of our other teachers could get their hands on you to help guide you through this. If this is within the realm of possibilities in your area I would really encourage you to seek one of us out but I will try my best within the limitations of the printed word. You will need to go slowly and carefully so you don't exacerbate the anxiety and pain that you have been experiencing. The diaphram is invloved in breathing no matter what technique you employ. As the diaphragm drops it creates a vacuum in the lungs into which air rushes in. With the Gokhale Method we like to see people use their chests to help maximize the volume of air the lungs can hold and also allow for the lengthening of the spine with each breath- but you will need to be careful here and it will take time. Some people find it a bit difficult to take a nice full breath at first because the intercostals (in between the ribs) can be short and tight and will fight chest expansion as well as the erector spinae (alongside the spine), pectorals, etc. You will also need to make sure that your neck muscles are staying out of it (scalenes and SCM)- sometimes they sneak in to help lift ribs 1 and 2- but it isn't supposed to be their job. Both the chest and the diaphragm are involved but we don't want the belly to be going in and out and the ribcage to be stuck and still.
I hope that helps answer your question more clearly. Let me know how you get on.
1 year 3 months ago
07/23/2021 - 2:33pm
Hi, can you explain how to not use the scalenes and other neck muscles to breath? If possible.
5 years 7 months ago
05/02/2016 - 4:15am
I would like to give a tip about breathing. I came across some breathing methods that are very interesting. Maybe the Gokhale community could benefit from these methods. The Buteyko method and the Oxygen Advantage Method both are based on the Bohr-effect, discovered by Christian Bohr in 1904. It is very important to know about this effect before advising people about breathing.
When you inhale, the lungs fill with oxygen. Every cell in your body needs oxygen. To reach the cells the oxygen molecules attach to hemoglobine, that functions as a vehicle for the oxygen. When the oxygen reaches the cells, the hemoglobine must release the oxygen. But to release the oxygen, CO₂ is needed. If there is a lack of CO₂ in the blood, the hemoglobine cannot release enough oxygen. By inhaling deeply, you actually overload the body with oxygen and this overload creates a lack of CO₂. So despite of having a lot of oxygen in your body, it cannot reach the cells.
Many methods advise to breath deeply, thus causing an overload of oxygen. If you do this for a long time, and actually lower the amount of oxygen that your body can effectively use, this can cause many inconviences, like snoring, sleeping restlessly, waking up many times, a feeling of anxiety, skin problems, excema, a stuffed nose.
The Russian M.D. Konstantin Buteyko (1923-2003) used the knowledge about the Bohr-effect to develop a breathing method for asthma patients, that was very succesful. Nowadays it becomes more known in the western world and it is healthy for everyone.
I will not go into details, I am not a teacher of this method, but here are some tips about the method and thus about breathing:
The method helped me immediately freeing my stuffed nose, singing better, not snoring anymore, waking up more relaxed, developing a better skin condition.
Maybe it can help you as well! Good luck!