Ocean Breathing is typically associated with yoga and various postures. It is so beneficial that it can actually be applied all throughout the day and not just on the yoga mat or in meditation classes. Introducing Ocean Breathing into our daily lives allows us to be more in control of our breathing. I suggest that whenever you see the term nasal breathing you automatically think… Ocean Breathing.
I witnessed a friend run up thirteen stairs and at the top she gasped, remarking that she had to stop smoking because she was so out of breath. I commented that she had been holding her breath the whole way up.
She replied, “It’s true, I never breathe when I need it the most.”
Often when asked to take a deep breath, for example at the doctor’s office, most of us take an exaggerated gulping breath with upward lifting shoulders. When I discussed this with my mentor Bruce, he agreed that in his experience it’s true that most people have no idea how to take a deep breath.
I sometimes ask people if they are aware of their breathing habits when they are moving about during their day. The common reply is that they don’t give it much thought. When told they don’t know how to breathe, I will often be met with, “what do you mean I don’t know how to breathe, I’ve been breathing all my life.”
So many of what could be excellent articles on Ocean Breathing leave me dissatisfied because they often mention, as a first instruction, to inhale through the nose, missing the core essence of Ocean Breathing. Inhaling through the nose is misleading because the air naturally passes through the nose regardless. For example, if you were to block your nose you would not be able to breathe. There should not be any agitating or sniffing sounds from the nose and rather a calm air flow should prevail. Although sniffing does have its place for example for designated breathing exercises. It bothers me because if I were a first-time reader and mimicked this initial instruction, I would end up sniffing through my nose resulting in shallow breathing. If I breathe this way for any length of time, it leaves me feeling dizzy.
Ocean Breathing is well-known for its whispering sound that emanates from the back of the throat. Breathing this way causes a natural diaphragmatic activation and aligning of the musculature surrounding the lungs. Ocean Breathing counteracts shallow open-mouth breathing which is counterproductive to a good breath. You will find Ocean Breathing a necessary and helpful breathing technique which also helps with hyperventilation and asthma.
My simplest instruction for ocean breathing emerged one day when I told a friend to whisper ‘I love you’ on both the inhalation and exhalation. The whispering sound continues to come from the back of the throat, while the air invariably passes through the nose.
Ocean Breathing and nasal breathing, are they the same? The answer is yes because in order to ocean breathe properly, invariably we inhale and exhale through the nose.
Now more than ever new information specific to Covid-19 extolling the benefits of the virus killing properties of Nitric Oxide have surfaced. This has astounding implications because it seems we can produce nitric oxide by the simple act of nasal breathing. Again, I am concerned that there could be confusion surrounding the concept of nasal breathing versus nasal sniffing. As we’ve already highlighted with ocean breathing, I suggest that whenever you see the term nasal breathing you automatically consider Ocean Breathing. You can then do any prescribed breathing exercises with ease.
Until I heard Patrick McKeown discussing humming and nitric oxide, my main use of humming was to avoid getting water in my nose while swimming.
Dr. Patrick McKeown and his breathing teachings have become an invaluable resource of late. (see links below)
“My mission is to empower people to take control of their own health, well-being and fitness using simple breathing exercises proven to improve body oxygenation”. Patrick McKeown