August 14, 2017

Piston Breathing

Happy Tuesday!

My vlog this week is a day later than usual, as I have been on a plane traveling to Toronto for the canfitpro world fitness expo happening this weekend.

This is part 4 of my Tips on Breathing and today I’m showing you an ancient technique that is very good for increasing oxygenation and naturally exciting the sympathetic nervous system. Called Piston Breathing, this is a good exercise to do when you are tired or mentally foggy or preparing for a bout of intense exercise, such as sprinting or heavy weight lifting. In effect, piston breathing is an excellent substitute to use instead of drinking a cup of coffee!

In a previous blog, I showed you how to use a breathing technique to help calm anxiety. Generally, piston breathing has the opposite effect to the “taking the garbage out” exercise, but in someone who suffers anxiety due to a lack of energy in their systems — like feeling sleep-deprived — and also suffering stress in other areas of their life, such as work, financial or relationship pressures.

If you are new to this technique, and particularly if your goal is to reduce anxiety, just perform piston breathing for 6-10 seconds at first, then stop and monitor your body to see how it responds.

If you get a favorable response, you can do another set of 6-10 seconds, building up to 6-10 sets in total, checking in repeatedly to make sure that you are still getting the results you are seeking. You can then gradually increase the length of each set. In my book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, I use piston breathing as a Zone 6 exercise, and suggest you build up to 100 breaths.

I hope you enjoy my vlog on Piston Breathing! Tell me about your experiences with this breathing technique.


Love and chi,