Breathing is easy, it’s natural, you just do it don’t you? But wait a minute, a new book by James Nestor entitled “Breath” points out that it’s not quite so simple!
It turns out that there is more to breathing than just letting it happen and the consequences can be damaging. We all know that if someone gets into a panic, they can start what’s called, hyperventilating, where they breathe deeply and rapidly- with the result that they can feel faint. And sometimes just thinking about a scary or highly stressful incident can induce the same reaction.
In both cases we breathe through our mouths and that we calm down by slowing the breathing down it will reduce the stressful sensations we go back to breathing through our noses-or do we?
Quite often, if the stress is low level and near continuous, we end up mouth breathing more than is healthy. But what’s wrong with breathing through the mouth you ask? Well according to James Nestor, breathing experts point out that nose breathing is the optimum way to breathe, except when undergoing physical exertion.
Why? Because amongst other benefits the nose is our own in-built air filtration and air conditioning system. Catching all the dust, dirt and germs floating around in the atmosphere. Which would otherwise be drawn deeply into the lungs when we breathe with our mouths. Also the air coming in via the nose is warmed and humidified, whereas it isn’t when coming in via the mouth.
Benefits such as these and many others are explained in his book, which whilst fascinating and is highly recommending reading, it doesn’t give any details of practices you can do to alleviate the situation. It appears that nearly all the techniques Nestor mentions are similar to a Yoga teachers handbook of Pranayama together with some of the physical exercises/practices utilised are also taught in a Pilates class. In view of this check out our short and entertaining theory and practical workshop on breathing efficiently for interested people to come and learn more about how the body breathes, how you can improve your breathing via some simple exercises from Yoga and Pilates and understanding what benefits you can gain.
Nestor, J (2021) Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art.
Resilience? Resilience is the ability to
bounce back, know how to cope with setbacks, learn how to manage yourself and
your resources, it is also the ability to function in times of stress, recover,
adapt and change. However, do we know
what skills we need to pick ourselves back up.
Why do we need to develop resilience? Without this skill, it is easy to
give up, this could apply to any area of life, study, career or sport. One of the skills for developing resilience
is perseverance, it is defined as the continued effort to keep going. Where do we start? You can start by building your mental resilience
through enhancing your health and well-being.
steps to start with are: to improve your
physical health by eating well and exercising, develop your sleeping habits,
incorporate meditation through mindfulness, celebrate your successes and
achievements. This is fine when
everything is going well, but what about when something comes along to throw us
off course? Compare this to a gymnast
balancing on a beam, how many times do they wobble and fall? It is only with determination
through getting back on the beam, pushing through with persistence will they
achieve their objectives and advance to perform a complex routine.
Day 3 – Another 6.30am start as it is going to be a tough day walking in the heat. Passing through and leaving Redondela behind, there is a much to see to include the estuary of Vigo and its islands. I merge with a long convoy of walkers in good spirit who greet each other with ‘Buen Camino’. Continuing along the way there are quaint villages, cobbled streets, crossing the medieval bridge of Ponte Sampaio, a varied, hilly route, with numerous places to stop for rest where you can get a 3 course pilgrim lunch at most restaurants for 10 euros. Eventually arriving in the historic centre of Pontevedra, for a well deserved back massage with the local physiotherapist.
Injuries are inevitable when participating in endurance events and can occur as a result of a breakdown in tissue and muscles being overloaded. With just over one week to go until London Marathon 2019, my plantar fasciitis has flared up again. This condition can causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot. Rest and ice are the best form of treatment together with a performance based Pilates exercise programme for the core, such as side plank, integrating foot muscle strengthening and flexibility in the lower limbs.
Ageing is associated to physiological changes and declines in muscles and joints which could contribute to falls, frailty and disability, the term for this condition is known as ‘sarcopenia’. Factors include a loss of muscle mass and strength. Current research has shown that by engaging in regular strength training programmes 2-3 times per week, exercise can help combat muscle weakness, build muscle strength and improve bone density.
Short courses can take place in winter, summer or throughout the academic year, delivered as a professional or academic course. Maybe you are looking to add an ‘extra flair’ to your study or would like to pursue a practical course in an academic subject combined with practical subjects, which is flexible, less connected to the regular curriculum, but is a course of interest.
A short course can not only enhance your skills, knowledge, but it enables you to specialise further, study from a different perspective or look into a different field of study you may of thought of as a hobby or interest.
An Intensive course gives you freedom, if you are looking for a job or seeking better opportunities, a short course will not only enhance your CV but enrich your study experience.
The route continued to Palas De Rei. After leaving Portomarin, crossing the River Mino we continued uphill steadily through woodland, the rain continued and got heavier and heavier. Continuing through small hamlets, passing the Hospital de la Cruz. Arriving at Vendas de Naron to get a ‘pilgrim stamp’ the old Romanesque Chapel, then continuing along the paved path, arriving at Sierra de Ligonde which offered fantastic views over the valleys. Particular parts of the route were isolated and quiet, apart from a rather large dog. The fog was dense and we were soaked through.
Approaching A Calzada the weather was so bad, we took shelter under a tree. There were other walkers, one an Australian man, we had met further back in other towns. After discussing the weather, our blisters, stories of one walker getting frostbite back in the Pyrenees, our conversation compared the weather to life and the Camino, there are good and bad times, but we must press forwards.
The Camino de Santiago builds resilience, both emotionally and physically, it enables us to develop a positive mind and can-do-attitude. We can integrate resilience into our lives on a daily basis, by being more active, getting more sleep and eating well, forgiving ourselves and resolving conflict. These small steps can help us improve our mental health and to face everyday challenges.
Camino de Santiago is an excellent reason to take time out and integrate some walking mindfulness into your Camino. Be aware of the sounds of nature, the wind, sun, rain and other people. How can we become mindful of our experience of walking? Start with a natural relaxed walking rhythm, keep your attention in the soles of your feet, being aware of the alternating patterns of contact with your foot as it makes contact with the ground, then focus on sensations in your muscles and joints, expanding that awareness into your posture and breathing.
Considering walking the Camino-Frances. Why not start in Sarria – known for its fabulous hospitality and local traditional food. As you begin your walk, you will pass through stunning scenery, picturesque villages, hamlets and many beautiful landscapes, in rural Galicia. The atmosphere is unique. Once you arrive in Santiago, a UNESCO world heritage city, visit the cathedral, claim your certificate from the Pilgrim office. There is plenty of time to explore, reflect on your journey and relax in this stunning town. visit http://www.fitness-excel.com/home to view our video of Sarria-Santiago.