80-30 Optimal Breathing Teeter Totter (see
saw). OBTT 80-30
"You are what you eat and you be how your breathe."
Gary Hagman, master bodyworker, San Francisco.
I saw a poster many years ago that said it all.
"To do is to be" Sartre, "To be is to do" Santayana
then it would follow to "Do be do be do".
Clever and funny yes but deeply insightful as
well. The key is balance between the two.
A famous native American whose name escapes me
at the moment said that
"If white man continues in the direction he is going he will end up merely
surviving instead of living."
I believe many are there already.
The secret of life the way I see is it to
create energy and then properly manage it. Breathing is your primary energy
Getting things done (doing) or our
accomplishments are often the source of richness in life. Satisfaction often
stems from achieving a goal and being acknowledged by self and others.
"Being" is a lot about present time and savoring
the moment. The being in the here and now that Ram Dass, Eckhard Tole and Dennis
Lewis talk about. "Being peace" that Thich Nhat Han talks about is
even more of
Many doers are awesome in their
accomplishments and role models for the best that can be done. It seems that many
doers suffer from excessive stress and being out of touch
with themselves and others; living other's lives or values; over the top
accomplishments at the expense of savoring and sensing deep, healthy
satisfaction and nurturing relationships. They are often
"surviving" instead of living. Simply stated many do not take the
time to breathe and just be.
To me, living is more about being and
doing so that doing supports being and being supports doing; do be do be do. Our society's wide swinging pendulum way of living seems stuck on the doing
with too little regard for the being side. Quantity instead of quality.
The key to me is balance. The text and animations below will hopefully make
it more clear how your breathing enters into the equation of who you are,
what you do and ways you would rather be or not be.
The many Ways DEEPER BREATHING is a good
thing or a bad thing.
Working with your breathing is the main way you can enter into the inner
world of your autonomic (or "automatic") body functions and systems to
influence them for improved self-maintenance, repair and body-mind-spirit
One of the key factors
as to why and how optimizing your breathing enhances your health and
vitality is through its interplay with the Autonomic Nervous System's
(ANS) stimulating chest breathing or calming belly breathing functions including
the balance between the two.
Keep in mind that the phrase "belly breathing" does not give us enough
information to breathe deeper and properly. We should see and feel expansion in the
full 360 degrees around the lower torso -- in the belly, sides and lower
back as well.
Basically, each extreme
of breathing is either strictly stimulating (left side or "upper chest" of the
below see saw) or strictly calming (right side or "belly" of the see saw).
But there is never an ONLY of either. It is always a mixture of the two
albeit sometimes way too one direction or over stimulation
(overcharged-reactive instead of counter active ) or
the key is the
balance between the two extremes.
I'm going to show you
an animation that illustrates how this might look. In the animation to your
say you are lying on your back with your feet to the right and your head towards your
The right side of the above "see saw" will represent your
parasympathetic PNS responses, which can be influenced by
the quality and
quantity of your breathing. The left or head side will represent
the sympathetic SNS side of your
autonomic nervous system, which has an equal
capacity to be influenced by your breathing.
The Parasympathetic side has buzzwords like, "rest, digest,
heal" but to us it is more about
energized, even when the sympathetic is at its peak, or
recovering when resting. These responses can be
influenced by breathing more diaphragmatically ala
lower in the body, where the lower torso, pelvis, legs and
feet are much
more directly or indirectly involved via
their support. This
sustain the body's calming responses, including reducing or eliminating
stress, strengthening courage and
fire or "walking
calmly through the gates of hell".
The buzzwords most often used for sympathetic activation are,
"fear, fight or flight." We see many other
choices like "freeze, fake
it, faint, fumble, mumble or stumble" -- and even
with enough PNS energy to
balance it, "fun." Certain types of fun sometimes
called "adrenaline rushes", can arise from the safely balanced
sympathetic enervation and
parasympathetic expansiveness and calming.
The sympathetic side is often typically a reaction to
stressors, whether they are from within or outside. This
reaction can be triggered also by too rapid or too high breathing
in the chest (think anxiety,
asthma or phobias).
We generally recommend a 70% parasympathetic to 30%
sympathetic ratio so that more than twice of the
foundation and strength of
our inhalation happens in the lower torso-to feet area, with
lesser happening in the
higher chest. But the chest volume must be as large as possible to support
the longevity factor that depends on
the fulcrum or blue pyramid that represents the solar plexus starts
off low and small, which represents shallow breathing. Notice it
doesn't have very far to go before it hits the ground. The kids
wouldn't like it... No fun.
Shallow breathing is also no fun for your body. It lacks excitement,
energy and stimulation.
It results in low oxygenation and it doesn't produce much
detoxification. It makes us try to breathe for energy into the upper
chest or highest story of the office building, and in this way
causes us to lose the support of the basement/foundation and parking garage,
is weakened and its calming forces diminished. It's an all-around
bummer! It also gets over very quickly, so you need a lot more
breaths per minute to keep yourself going, which overworks your
breathing system increasing the oxygen cost of breathing.
We've created this showing the movement of the "see saw" as
somewhat slower on the parasympathetic side,
that's the right side with the blue color. And it's faster on the
sympathetic side. This illustrates the fact that
one side has a slowing-down calming effect, while the other has a faster,
more alerting, "fight-or-flight"
excitement kind of effect on the nervous system. The SNS side actually
speeds up your heart rate while the PNS
slows it down.
Now notice, as we move into quiet breathing and then into deeper
breathing, that the fulcrum
rises, giving rise to greater elevation of the teeter totter. Now
greater heights in both the parasympathetic and the sympathetic
sides can be reached and better tolerated .. deeper calm and greater
excitement - for good or for ill.
When we get into the deepest breathing, the teeter
even too high to feel safe.
Kids might not like it too high.
Too scary. But as we will see below if the PNS
contribution/portion is strong enough the intensity of SNS may be
On the left or sympathetic side, this would represent
fear, panic, etc. For kids AND
adults this may get labeled as hyperventilation,
(excessive speed or high chest
pattern). This gets called asthma a
more about this here
On the right or parasympathetic side, this might represent an
almost comatose state of non-reactivity. This would also be true (taken to
an extreme that is to be avoided) of the ability of
our own BREATHING to influence our nervous system, and thereby, all
of the organs
and systems of the body (for good or for ill).
To some this looks like hyperventilation or something bad. I
call this deep PNS dominant
breathing HYPER-INHALATION as it is a good thing and MORE FROM A WELLNESS
perspective. Breath is life.
I do not want people to be afraid of breathing
Elevated states of excitement as in sports, or when someone is performing on
example, can be beneficial. Negative stimulation comes from things like the
giving or taking
in of fear or anger, or even drugs that "dumb down" the body's responses.
Though it is possible to train yourself to safely do that for a while, you
probably wouldn't want
to externally stimulate negative bodily states by forcefully high chest
for very long. However, doing extra breathing in the LOWER extremities can
help you calm
down from most any stressful situation, as well as energize and recover from
that and will even help you
performing, as well as stimulate more of the creative alpha brain wave
|Now notice the
colors in the two test tubes on the sides, and how they influence
changes within the fulcrum. It's like you are pouring into the
triangle the various levels of red and blue to create various shades
of purple or what one might call balance. This represents the
various amounts of input that the solar plexus (and actually all the
organs and nerve-ganglia of the body) are receiving from either the
"fight or flight" nerves, or the "calming" nerves.
it's rarely a situation of total black or white... (or in this case,
red or blue).
It's usually a mixture of the two with our preference being towards
Both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic sides are working in
concert with each other
as they constantly adjust and attempt to keep a balance among both
our exterior and interior stimulators, be they stressful or
What are some of our INTERNAL stimulators? Well, your overall
state of health has a big
influence... Your relative state of oxygenation and detoxification. Cells
that are clogged with
toxins, and chronically starved for the right nutrients, and for oxygen, are
very unhappy and stressed out
cells indeed! They will be communicating that
to you in all kinds of ways... pain, inflammation... even a vague
unease, anxiety, fatigue or disease... are you listening here?
Dennis Lewis, Ekard Tole and Ram Dass talk about staying present and the
power of now.
For some this is a huge challenge, as always being ahead or behind ourselves
may add stress.
On the good side, we can be stimulated (or calmed) by
pleasant music, a good conversation, and
by positive thoughts and feelings... AND as we've pointed out, the
BREATHING will influence
all of this, either for good or bad. Breathing optimally will help you keep
this balancing act
within healthy manageable ranges...
So we would say that at the Deep Breathing level -- the third
phase in this animation -- is
what to look at for states of energetic balance and calming even with high
sympathetic; the strengthening of the parasympathetic, mostly the sacral
plexus, per the ANS diagram way below.
Though air left in the lungs after exhale can be too much in
volume, this animation shows that for the
purposes of this video, there is always a reasonable residue of air in your
lungs that you want to keep on the
exhale (3), and a stress free maximum (8) on the inhale.
ore insight to this
8-3 ration via
. You don't
necessarily want to
force out every last bit of air
when you exhale. That can develop tightness and restrictions in easy
breathing. Neither do you want to try
to fill your lungs to an absolute 100 percent, lest your shoulders and
collar bones be forced to rise and neck
muscles bulge out, while you are straining too hard to fill your lungs.
While the deepest breathing levels including more intense states of
stimulation may be too
much for kids, under certain safe circumstances, even phenomenal self
healing and personal
growth results can be achieved with adults. Processes such as Integral
Breathwork, Spiritual Breathwork or
WholeBody consciousness, or more intense levels of
sports such as extreme skiing,
bungee jumping, sky diving, horse or auto
racing, or even in
public speaking or singing, all require deep yet
balanced breathing, mental
focus and overall improved energy management. I prefer the
8-3 OB Window as the
optimal range of breathing depth for this process.
A warning here about factors like emotions, detoxification
inviting fatigue, confusion or feeling groggy or sleepy
and the release of recreational and prescription drugs. These are huge
issues for some. Many who breathe
more than they are accustomed to experience energy management that becomes
difficult to impossible.
With proper deeper breathing for an extended period of time, most negative emotions
can be breathed through
and resolved; they will lose
their grip on you. This is akin to taking a walk or run if you feel
or walk may not be enough for adequate resolution. But notice I said
properly. Some psychotherapists
suspect the run
and “runner’s high” may be muffling or sublimating various negative emotions
them to “come out crooked” in other parts of their life. This is a
bioenergetic study in itself and
not within the
scope of this program.
In the area of detox I personally witnessed a man exhaling
ether that he had acquired 30
years prior during a surgery. It had remained lodged in his tissues. The
breath seems to want
to cleanse and integrate the body mind and spirit but sometimes it is a
little to very scary as
the energy does its cleansing work. When some breathe more they want to
sleep so a good
pattern might be to just allow that. Do the breathing then take a nap.
As you breathe more and still feel out of
sorts after doing
any of our techniques or exercises you might want
to consider professional guidance. I would suggest a non drug approach but
the final decision remains with you
cleanses might be in order.
So we would say that the deep breathing level -- the third
phase in this animation -- represents the balance
of energizing and calming. Even with high levels of sympathetic activity.
You will be emptying, filling and
energetically balancing at optimal levels.
You'll be able to withstand good levels of excitement, handle a
reasonable amount of stress, and enjoy good, calming influences, without
going to extremes. Your cells will be
happier because of better oxygenation
and detoxification. Your whole life can be easier, better and happier.
The parasympathetic nervous system, mostly the sacral plexus, is outlined
per the following Autonomic
Nervous System (ANS) diagram. Get somewhat familiar with
this diagram just to see
how many organs are directly influenced by the way we breathe. Just view
this with the idea that the way
you breathe greatly influences all this and do not get side tracked trying
to learn all about this part. It is just
to emphasize the
damage or aid one can effect with bad or good breathing patterns.
breathing now See also