Breathe With Skill to Dramatically Improve Your Health



“A healthy mind has an easy breath.” — Author Unknown

We do it everyday so you think we’d be good at it.

No, there are actually better ways to breathe, than how we breathe by default.

By default, we tend to breathe shallow and, according to research, that’s not as effective as deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Better Immune System by Breathing Better

I first heard about a better way to breathe from Tony Robbins.  He wanted to know why athletes have statistically lower cancer than the average American.  The conclusion was that athletes get more oxygen in their bloodstream and they stimulate the movement of lymph which stimulates their immune system to work at peak levels.

In the book, Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins shares how improving our breathing can improve our immune system and overall health.

Benefits of Better Breathing

Back in the lab, Tony found the most effective way to breathe so you can emulate the effects.  Basically, it’s deep diaphragmatic breathing.

By breathing deeply and in a specific way, you pump your lymph nodes.

Your heart pumps your bloodstream, but deep breathing pumps your lymphs.  In terms of impact, if you measure your white blood cell count before, and then two weeks later after making this a habit, you should see a dramatic change.  I haven’t measured this, but I can’t see any downsides to attempting to breathe better, so in this case, I’ll just go with Tony’s findings.

How to Breathe the Most Effective Way to Cleanse Your System

Inhale for one count, hold for four counts, exhale for two counts.

Tony writes:

“Let me share with you the most effective way to breathe in order to cleans your system.  You should breathe in this ratio: inhale one count, hold four counts, exhale two counts. 

If you inhaled for four seconds, you would hold for sixteen and exhale for eight. 

Why exhale for twice as long as you inhale?  That’s when you eliminate toxins via your lymphatic system.  Why hold four times as long?  That’s how you can fully oxygenate the blood and activate your lymphatic system. 

When you breathe, you should start deep in your abdoment, like a vacuum cleanere that’s getting rid of all toxins in the blood stream.”

10 Deep Breaths, 3 Times a Day

Tony recommends taking 10 deep breaths in this way, 3 times a day.  Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  He says work up slowly, never strain, and always start your breaths from your abdomen.

There you have it.  A better way to breathe.  The potential upsides are amazing and the downside is three times a day you wasted five minutes trying to breathe well and be in the moment.

Hmmmm … not much of a downside.

Photo by lululemon athletica.

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  1. I have grown to love breathing!! Well, I mean, it’s rather needed but, breath work has been such a blessing in my life. Alternate nostril breathing rocks as does the example you gave in your post. The best thing about air? It’s free! :)

  2. It is a well-known millenia-old science in India named as “Pranayama” for ages. This is just one type of breathing. There are many more ways – and each one can cure a specific disease, not just prevent it.

  3. @ Clearly Composed — You know what they say — if it’s free, it’s for me :)

    @ Mark — I think pranayama and it’s flavors are interesting … especially “cobra breathing” (Uijayi)

    @ Sandra — I like the simplicity of it. To remember to do it, I decided to pin it with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  4. Hi JD .. a good skill to add in to your Sources of Insight .. so many of us forget that an additional breath release oozes those toxins free .. and we exercise our abdomen too ..

    An excellent post – thanks Hilary

  5. @ Hilary — Thank you. I thought I would be pretty good at breathing by now, but I’m still just a beginner … at least now I know how to practice 😉

  6. Ahhhh, that feels good to breathe. Haven’t thought about mine all day until this post.

    The old 1, 4, 2 ratio. Thanks for the insight!

    Toxins gone. Ready for a dance and a glass of vino!


  7. i believe deep breathing is good for slowing down the heart, but the way tony robbins says, holding your breath, makes your heart beat faster so i believe he is wrong, plus holding my breath makes me dizzy

  8. @ Nick — Like anything, test and measure your results to know what works for you.

    The proof is in the pudding. The thing to measure is your white blood cell count. He said the results are repeatable.

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