About Breathing

In our busy, modern-day lives we are always “on the go” and our bodies are in a constant “flight or fight” state (stress response). Breathing is our only conscious link to the nervous system, which controls digestion, immunity, hormones and many more important functions. When you master breathing awareness, you will have control over your reactions, energy and stress levels.
Pain is our body’s way of telling the brain that there’s something wrong with our nervous system, muscles, joints or bones. The way the brain interprets pain is very complex -- it creates a stress response that alters the breathing pattern, which in turn, sends us into survival mode. If the pain continues, stress hormones continue to be released causing stressed breathing. Learning to control your breathing restores balance to your stress response and your body’s nervous system.
Grief is a natural process of life, but learning how to bring your body to a state of calm and into the present moment is both grounding and healing during this time. Learning to breathe well helps us tune into our heart and body and give it what it truly needs. Breathing is a reflection of how we are feeling. When we’re upset, we breathe fast and erratically. When we are happy, we breathe slow and easy. Breathing training is one tool that may help you process and move through grief. We recommend you talk with family, friends or a health professional if you feel grief is getting on top of you.
Hyperventilation syndrome is at the highest end of the breathing dysfunction spectrum. Usually, symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome have been around for a long period of time. You may exhibit a wide range of symptoms that seem disconnected, and you may have seen health professionals in search of a diagnosis. Hyperventilation syndrome occurs when altered breathing changes your body’s chemistry. A stress trigger may have altered your breathing pattern years ago. That altered breathing becomes the norm, and you’re now suffering the consequences. Our foundation programme Breath Right and Reduce Your Stress helps you become aware of your breathing pattern and give you simple, drug-free exercises to help re-educate your body and nervous system. Making small changes is achievable and can have a big impact in your life.
Stress is good for the body. When we are under stress, our body goes into protection and survival mode. This state was vital thousands of years ago to survive, but the problem today is that our brain can’t differentiate between being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger or a less life-threatening event like the kids crying, an argument, or rushing late for a meeting. We have so many “triggers” in our lives it’s no surprise we constantly feel tired, grumpy and stressed. Simply being aware of these triggers is often enough to change how you react to them. The Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress course examines how you can harness stress for good as well as giving you tools to help reduce the effect of stress on your body and mind.
Athletes, like anyone, can suffer from breathing dysfunction. The stress of competition can alter breathing patterns and therefore the body’s ability to perform on the day. Learning to bring your body back to calm allows for athletes to find the best body chemistry levels and perform to their highest ability. The Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress programme educates and provides the tools to reset your breathing.
Yoga includes a strong emphasis on breathing. Even experienced yoga teachers and students benefit from understanding the science and research behind optimal breathing. The key to getting the most out of your yoga practice is to understand how you can modify your breathing to optimise your health. You can then layer these breathing techniques into your practice to get the body into a calmer, more centred state faster.
When pregnant, your body goes through physical and hormonal changes that have an impact on breathing. In the early stages of pregnancy, an increase in progesterone can cause an increase in your breathing rate, making breathing faster, creating a breathing dysfunction and bringing on symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. As pregnancy advances and your waistline expands, it’s harder to breathe into the major breathing muscle, your diaphragm. But the good news is that research has shown that breathing exercises during pregnancy rebalances carbon dioxide levels and improves the health of both mother and baby. Learning healthy breathing habits during pregnancy can also help prepare you for sleepless nights and helps you ride the rollercoaster of motherhood.
One in 10 people have hyperventilation syndrome, and many more have breathing dysfunction. A breathing pattern disorder is an altered rhythm, rate or pace of breathing that has existed for a period of time causing you to breathe beyond what your body requires. You may breathe too fast, too often, through your mouth, use your back-up breathing muscles when you are stressed (scalene and pectorals), or a combination of all of the above, and these often go undiagnosed. Up to 30% of emergency admissions are diagnosed with a primary diagnosis of breathing dysfunction or hyperventilation syndrome, which have multiple triggers or causes. Even a major illness like cancer can cause a secondary stress reaction that alters breathing resulting in poor sleep, fatigue or nausea (on top of other symptoms). As part of The Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress breathing course, we help identify your triggers and reduce their impact.
Private consultations are available in both virtually or in our Queenstown and Glenorchy-based clinics. Email exhale@thebreatheffect.com for appointments. If you’re interested in attending one of our retreats or workshops click on our events page to book your next event.
Conscious awareness of breathing takes practice. The Breathe Right Course course teaches tricks and tips for implementing regular checks and exercises for your breathing. With hyperventilation syndrome, a simple tip is to set a reminder every 1 or 2 hours to check your breathing pattern. We get that breathing awareness takes time, and it’s hard to be “in the moment” if you are feeling tense or stressed.
We wish we could tell you that breathing’s the ‘magic bullet’ for fixing lower back pain. But it’s not and there isn’t one thing that will. It’s estimated that up to 90% of back pain is caused by bad habits, like how we move our body through the day or how we think and feel. This, in turn, leads to muscle tension, poor breathing and muscle trigger points. Back pain is very complex and involves the higher brain centres, the nervous system and the body all combining to give you your individual pain experience. When used in conjunction with an exercise-based rehab programme, the ability to ‘breathe back to calm’ is a powerful tool to help manage pain as well as prevent pain from returning.
If you have severe troubles with breathing such as unstable asthma or heart conditions we recommend you consult your doctor and physiotherapist to make sure you can safely do the course.
IIf you have long-term nasal issues, you may need to seek advice from your doctor or an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. If you can’t breathe freely through both nasal passages and simple over-the-counter treatments haven’t been effective then you may need to deal with this first as it may be the reason you have a breathing pattern disorder.
While breathing retraining can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, we recommend you do this under the guidance of your doctor or therapist. We encourage you to reach out to family, friends and health professionals to get you through tough times -- there are multiple agencies that can help you work through suicidal feelings and depression.
Meditation is a practice of training the mind to help build clarity, concentration and calmness. It’s often associated with religion or spirituality, which is why some people are put off trying it. Mindfulness is different, but is also a practice that helps focus your awareness on the present moment. Meditation, mindfulness and yoga all use awareness of the breath to help calm the body and mind. Breathing training is part of these practices as it’s a conscious connection to the nervous system and your hormones. Your mind and body are intrinsically linked. When you think about something sad, your body reacts that way. When you feel joy, your body and breathing respond accordingly. It makes sense then to be able to use your body to change the way you feel.

About the course

It’s a 30-day course, but you have 12 months to complete the course and access the material. The course is done in daily modules, which you can do in one go or pick out the topics relevant to you. We recommend you work through the programme in the set order. You’ll receive a daily email when the next module is available and each one takes between 5 and 15 minutes to complete.
The course includes PDFs to download and keep.
Practice, practice and then practice some more! Keeping up with better breathing is as simple as 10 minutes twice a day. If you feel you need ongoing support, we recommend you see your local breathing physiotherapist. Remember, it takes time to change a habit. You may need to work on mindful pauses throughout the day to help reduce triggers. The course gives you practical ideas for integrating these techniques into your day. Make sure you sign up for The Breath Effect newsletter to keep up to date with our wellness courses and education programmes.
Most things you need for the course are lying around the house. A 2kg wheat bag or bag of rice is recommended for Day 6 when you learn to chillax (chill out and relax).
The course is broken up into short daily modules, which you can do at any time of day. It runs for 30 days and each daily module takes between 5 and 15 minutes to complete. The course is made up of instructional video content as well as downloadable PDFs. You’ll have course material access for 12 months from signing up. There are LIVE training with Emma on week 1 and 4 of the course.
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Each daily module will take between 5 and 15 minutes for Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress.
The course is designed to run over 30 days and you will have access to the course for 12 months from when you sign up.
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Virtual Retreat

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