Ocean Breathing Therapy

Ocean Breath breathing means breathing slowly through your nostrils - about 4 to 5 heartbeats in and about 4 to 5 heartbeats out. Doing this you create a soft and gentle sound in your throat, just like the waves of an inner ocean floating to the coast. You hear sound inhaling and exhaling. Just listen to this rhythm. I believe that you will find Ocean Breath breathing very useful. It helps in gathering and accumulating the energy we need to live a vibrant full life. The following consists of two separate guidelines on how to practice it. I suggest that you read both descriptions before trying it out. And then read through this paper again every so often. This can be done first thing in the morning or any time throughout the day. It can also be used during your exercise program, whether rebounding or any other form of exercise.

This Breathing Technique is Step 3 of The 7 Steps to Holistic Health Plan

After reading this article, we suggesting reviewing the holistic health plan in its entirety.

The first description comes from John Douillard's book "Body, Mind and Sport". He emphasizes the exhale because he is training people for strenuous exercise. The "nasal" inhale is quite valuable when just sitting or doing light to moderate exercise.

Step 1: Inhale normally through your nose. At first do not take a large breath. It will be easier to master this technique with shallow breaths in the beginning.

Step 2: During your exhale, breathe out only through your nose. As you exhale, constrict your throat slightly, as if you were lightly snoring. The sound should be a little like Darth Vader (from Star Wars). You will notice that during normal nose breathing you can feel the air coming out through your nostrils, somewhat like the feeling you get when you blow your nose. With this technique you will feel a sensation in your upper throat; it doesn’t feel as if the air is moving through your nostrils at all. Of course this is just an illusion; your mouth is closed and there is simply no other way out.

Step 3: Try making this sound during your nasal exhale, without contracting your abdominal muscles. Go ahead and do it now. If you are doing the Darth Vader breathing correctly, you will find it very difficult to make that sound without slightly contracting your stomach muscles.

Step 4: If you’re not sure you’ve got it right try it this way: Instead of focusing on exhaling through your nose and constricting your throat, think about squeezing the air out from your tummy by tightening your stomach muscles. You will find that the tighter you make your stomach during your exhale, the more pronounced the resonant Darth Vader sound will be.

Step 5: If you’re still not sure take out a pair of sunglasses and blow on them, with your mouth open, as if to fog them up for cleaning. You will make a HAAA sound that comes from inside your throat rather than your mouth. Now close your mouth and make the same glass fogging sound, but through your nose. The only difference is that, instead of just a short glass fogging burst, I want you to carry the HAAA sound throughout your exhale. The same breath that cleans your glasses with your mouth open will mimic Darth Vader with your mouth closed.

Step 6: Once you are comfortable with the exhalation, on inhalation constrict the same area of your throat that you used on exhalation. The inhalation is felt as a SAAA sound. It has a very similar feel to the exhalation except that since you are taking in air the sensation in the back of your throat will feel slightly different. You can use this inhalation with any form of exercise except the most strenuous, such as running. The exhalation technique can be used even with strenuous exercise.

Step 7: Once you have mastered the inhalation and exhalation with a shallow breath, begin to increase the size of your breath, ensuring a quality, resonant Darth Vader sound. Gently over time: Keep increasing the depth of your breath until you are taking in every last bit of air and squeezing out every last bit. Practice this as much as possible while sitting or walking, because the better you make this sound now with a deep maximal breath, the easier it will be to apply it to your exercise program. And the combination of the movements and your excellent quality breathing will bring the best results.

The following description comes from a system, known as The Flow. It is a practical approach to the study of "energy as it flows in the universe". This study begins with your self. You may find it useful in refining your technique as well as in understanding some of the principles associated with Ocean Breath.

This form of breathing has been used for thousands of years to calm the mind and body, balance metabolism and bring forth your sense of well being and mental clarity. In essence it works by improving diaphragmatic breathing so that more oxygenated blood is introduced into the system. The lower lobes of the lungs are increasingly utilised with this type of deep breathing. Also, there are receptor sites in the lower lungs that, when activated through diaphragmatic breathing, tell the body to relax. This directly affects our mood and sense of well being.

With this technique you should always breathe through your nose. If you have gotten into the habit of breathing through your mouth you may find nose breathing uncomfortable at first. Breathing through one's mouth sends signals to the adrenals saying, in effect, there is an emergency at hand right now. Prepare to fight or flee! Mouth breathing done habitually is very hard on a person. If you have been mouth breathing, breathing through your nose will become natural again - in time. Just take it easy and do not push yourself. Ocean Breath has a profound effect on metabolism and is a core aspect of The Flow. All of the exercises revolve around your breathing cycle. They are performed in harmony with your breath. Breath and movement flow as one.

To begin, sit in a comfortable position and inhale through your nose. Just take a normal breath. Not too deep. Later on we will work with deeper breaths but for now just breathe through your nose and exhale through your nose. Do this for a few moments. Feel your body. Relax. Breathe.

When you are ready, on exhalation constrict your throat a bit so that you make a slight snoring sound. As you get the feel for this type of exhalation you will notice that you feel the air move past your upper throat as a light stream of warm air. The air as it passes through your throat and nostrils will sound like HAAA.

Now: On inhalation breathe normally through you nose. On exhalation constrict your throat slightly so that you hear HAAA. Practice inhaling normally and slightly constricting your throat on exhalation for a little while.

Once you are comfortable with this cycle: On inhalation constrict your throat slightly so that you hear the sound SAAA. Keep your breathing relaxed and focus on taking slightly deeper breaths. Do not ever hold your breath with this type of breathing. Simply allow your breath to come in gently until your lungs are as full as is comfortable. There will naturally be a slight pause at the end of your inhalation. Then relax your chest and shoulders and let your breath leave you with the HAAA sound. At the end of your exhalation there will be another natural pause.

When you are familiar with this cycle: At the end of your exhalation gently contract your stomach muscles so that you squeeze the last of the air out of your lungs. Do not strain. Just squeeze your stomach muscles a little bit. Then relax your stomach and inhale as deeply as is comfortable. Let your stomach naturally expand as you breathe (inhale) from your diaphragm - making the SAAA sound. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes while sitting in a relaxed manner. You can sit in a chair. You can walk around. You can lie down. You can sit on the floor. There is no particular position you need to be in. What I want to get across is for you to practice the breathing in a fluid enjoyable manner.

As you come to a better understanding of this technique, feel free to experiment. Many of us have been educated to be competitive and to make work out of most anything we do – striving towards a specific goal. This approach to life has its place, however, if it becomes habitual it can take the pleasure out of living. Please, have fun with this. It doesn't need to be "just so". Let the experience unfold. As you breathe let your energy flow all through you.

By the way, it is not important to intentionally contract your stomach muscles at the end of every exhale. Sometimes do it. Sometimes don't. Be attuned to your body and contract your stomach when you feel like it. To be clear about the contractions, when you make the HAAA sound on exhalation it is natural to slightly contract your stomach muscles. The contraction at the end is simply a continuation of this process. (Tip: Use your imagination and choose to hear SAAA on inhalation and HAAA on exhalation. This will bring the technique into reality more quickly.)

There are certain beneficial physiological effects that come about from practicing Ocean Breath, over time. This subject is more than I want to elaborate on right now, however, there is one thing I want to point out here. This technique causes a person to take deeper and deeper breaths – without trying to do so. The HAAA exhalation moves air across receptor sites in the roof of the mouth that are connected with a part of our nervous system. This part regulates breath. There is a lot of carbon dioxide in the exhaling breath. Our system responds to this somewhat higher than normal concentration of carbon dioxide by automatically taking a slightly deeper inhalation which means even more air will be passing across these receptors on exhalation. This forms a feedback loop and the more you relax during Ocean Breath the better the experience.

You can come to a place in practicing Ocean Breath where your inhalation and exhalation are very relaxed and you will have a surprise. You feel like you are very light (not dizzy) and your breath will keep coming in and your chest will expand for what seems like an impossibly long time. This expansion can be felt as a rolling sensation that starts in your lower belly and rolls upwards into your chest. Just be present to the experience and allow the relaxation to continue. This effortless breathing stimulates nerve plexus along your spinal column and throughout your body. You may notice that your spine elongates and contracts as you breathe. It can be viewed as a form of internal massage. Also, feel your energy moving through you. It has certain ways of moving on inhalation and certain ways on exhalation. I don't want to be specific here as these movements are different for different people and, in any case, they change even within the same person. Let's just say that it's best to be your own observer, quiet and alert.

If you start to become dizzy slow down your breathing cycle. Also, if you practice this breathing for quite a while at one sitting your throat may dry out so have a little water around. This dryness happens because you're moving a lot of air in and out as a focused stream through the back of your throat. You don't need to do Ocean Breath for most of the time throughout your day. In fact it's not recommended. A few minutes here and there as you wish is a nice way to experience it. If you want to practice some form of exercise or just sit or lie down and enjoy Ocean Breath for an extended period that's ok, too. There are certainly good reasons for doing so.

Again, do not stress over this. It may take several sessions before you get the feel for it. At some point it will just "click". And once you have the feel for it your body will remember how to do it and, with experience, will refine and personalize the process making it your own. Eventually this breathing will feel natural. You can practice it with all of the exercises in The Flow. You can, also, practice it while walking. Ocean Breath is very useful for more strenuous exercises, too. The one caveat is during more intense activities breathe normally on inhalation then make the HAAA sound on exhalation with the slight stomach contraction at the end.

The intensity of your exercise should be the guideline to how much or how little you make the HAAA sound and stomach contraction on exhalation. The key here is to let your breath leave you quickly on exhalation when you are exercising. Experiment. Be gentle with yourself and make sure you receive enough oxygen to balance your workload. Relax into it and you will find your rhythm.

By utilising this form of breathing you will receive more oxygen per breath than if you breathe through your mouth. Actually you can take in more air through your mouth than through your nose, however, the oxygen you receive from mouth breathing is not as well assimilated as it is with nose breathing and, as noted above, it leads to anxiety.

Keep in mind to use common sense so that you don’t strain yourself during your breathing/exercise routine. This program is designed to be efficient and effective rather than to place excessive and unnecessary strain on your system.

Combine this exercise with the right nutrition and supplements.