Our bodies are shifting energy all the time.
Anxiety, for example, has an energy to it. As does calm. In shifting from one to the other our energy state will change
And on a purely physical level, we can go from energised to tired, back to energised again, then to exhausted, get refreshed a little, and so on…
For most of us the energising bit comes after some form or rest, or meditation, or maybe a dose of caffeine or sugar.
Equally, shifting from anxious to calm might also come as a result of resting, meditating or some other form of relaxation.
From experience though, our own experience and the experience of our clients, the fastest way to shift any energetic state is through the breath.
“But where do I start? How do I use these breathing techniques?” We get these questions a lot, especially since we started the podcast. And it’s a fair question, especially as breathing is the most instinctive thing we’ve all been doing since we were born.
To help with that we created a series or short videos that runs you through some practical exercises. You can access the video series at the end of this post but we’ll just take a few moments to explain a bit more about the how and why behind it.
The Ups and Downs of Breathing
There are pretty much two things you want to do with your energy levels, either increase them or reduce them. Take them up or bring them down. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.
So think of your breath as having two levers. One that takes your energy up, let’s call that the up lever, and one that brings it down. You can work out what we’ll call that one :-).
When we talk about up levers and down levers in relation to the breath, the inhale is your up lever, which increases energy, and the exhale is the down lever, which reduces energy.
Actually, to be more accurate, the down lever increases relaxation rather than reduces energy. The energy is still there and hasn’t been reduced as such, it’s just gone through a change of state but is still there if you need to call on it.
The inhale is connected to the central nervous system, and up regulates the nervous system, so it puts you into a sympathetic or fight or flight state. And the exhale down regulates the parasympathetic system and puts you into rest or digest.
They are two very basic functions, so that’s why we use the up and down lever, it’s a ‘thing’ that has an actual physiological effect.
For example, if you’re feeling a little bit depressed, a little bit down, and you do the shift energy pattern for energise, then it’s going to physically take you up, because you’re focusing on exhales, you’re focusing on energising type of patterns of breathing. The video series shows you how to do that.
Good Things Come In Threes
The fundamentals of the series are really easy to remember. Three shapes. Three minutes. That’s it.
You may have heard us talk about the power of three before, and so this is something that for us was a little bit of a light bulb moment when we started doing most things in our business.
I (Shane) first started using the principle of the power of three in general goal-setting. I would just pick three things for the week, three things for the day, and they would be my focus.
So we’ve now introduced the power of three it into the basics of breathing. Each of the videos are between five and six minutes long, but within that is a three-minute breathing exercise. You’ll find out where you’re ‘stuck’ in your breathing and where you can free yourself up a little bit more.
These are the fundamentals of peak state breathing techniques. This is definitely the place to get started. It’s simple and is going to shift some energy for you. Even if you’ve had previous experience with breathing practices, the series is a good reminder of how simple and effective the practice can be.
It’s Time to Shape Up!
We use the basic patterns of the circle, the square, and the triangle in the series. In fact we use the patterns in everything we do with breathing.
They cover the three basic mechanical aspects of breathing: breathing in, breathing out, and pausing or holding your breath. Each shape is basically a framework for using these aspects in a different sequence.
So we’ve broken it down into some really easy-to-follow steps. Once you’ve got the basics of those patterns down, then we introduce what we call shift patterns.
The shift patterns are cycling between, say, energising and relaxing. So you go energising, relaxing, energising (for example). That shifts the energy really fast. It’s a really great physical shift.
And the patterns, the triangle pattern is actually your natural breathing pattern.
So the count or the rhythm that we use for the triangle pattern – five beats in, five beats out, pause – is also known as heart coherence breathing. When done deliberately this triangular breathing pattern has a beautiful way of putting you into this really zenned out, meditative state. The heart gets in coherence and resonates with all the other organs in the body.
This book, from Dr. David O’Hare goes into this in more detail.
Next is the circular pattern. This is a powerful pattern. The circular pattern is one that uses an active inhale, passive exhale. And that’s a cycling of opposites, going active to relaxed, active to relaxed, active to relaxed. The rhythmic movement from this pattern actually shifts your energy. And then finally we have the square or the box breathing which is containing your energy or controlling every part of the inhale. The box of your imaginary square is the container so to speak. You breathe up one side, hold at the top, down the other side and hold at the bottom. This contains the energy.
The written explanation really doesn’t do the process justice so be sure to sign up for the Quick Start program at the bottom of the page, then you’ll get an actual experience of what we’re trying to describe.
That’s Just The Start
We’ll be releasing a more advanced breathing program in the future that shows you how to have more transformative experiences but for now, this series will show you how to master shifting your personal energy. And feel free to play with it. We deliver it in 3 minute bites but feel free to expand that to 6, 9, 12, 20 minutes or even more. It’s your breath so have a play with it.
Get your free Breathe Me 7-Step Quick Start Breathing Program here so you can experience the techniques discussed in this post and podcast.