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Primal breathing--Gokhale method, Buteyko breathing...?

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  • Primal breathing--Gokhale method, Buteyko breathing...?

    I started using Esther Gokhale's posture method after coming across it in the MDA blog. She advocates chest breathing--to avoid compressing the lower internal organs and "massage" the spine as the intercostal muscles move. I recently came across another method, called "Buteyko breathing" that was discovered by a Russian doctor, that basically advocates diaphragm breathing, nasal breathing, reducing breathing rate/volume (says most people hyperventilate, which is bad, actually gets you less O2). I have a book on this method coming in the mail, so hopefully I will understand it more thoroughly soon. It sounds like it has been very helpful for many people, especially with athsma (which I have--not many problems with it now but once and awhile I still have difficulty breathing).
    Does anyone here know anything about the Buteyko method? It seems to be kind of contordictory with the Gokhale method, regarding the chest/diaphragm breathing part, which is what confuses me.
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  • #2
    I don't know anything about either method, but common sense tells me that Grok didn't have any special breathing posture, and so the best way to breathe is the way that's just natural to you--how you were evolved to breathe. If you can convince me that society has altered the way we breathe and that Grok actually breathed through his ears, I'll be happy to listen.

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    • #3
      Most people are walking around with an oxygen saturation over 99%, so I'm not sure where they would be putting any extra...
      “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
      Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
        Most people are walking around with an oxygen saturation over 99%, so I'm not sure where they would be putting any extra...
        how was this verified?

        i have sleep apnea so i am curious. my sleeping O2 gets down to 68-73%
        Optimum Health powered by Actualized Self-Knowledge.

        Predator not Prey
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        • #5
          They test your blood, generally with a little laser thing on your finger, if there's a concern. During my severe asthma attacks when I felt really awful, I still had a saturation of like 95%, so if your saturation drops you will probably notice. Some people with severe asthma or COPD are walking around with low oxygen... This is a severe disease condition, not something the average person has.
          “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
          Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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          • #6
            yes i know the tool i just didnt realize the band was so narrow. i have also been on a BiPap for 15 years
            Optimum Health powered by Actualized Self-Knowledge.

            Predator not Prey
            Paleo Ketogenic Lifestyle

            CW 315 | SW 506
            Current Jeans 46 | Starting Jeans 66


            Contact me: quelsen@gmail.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Personally, I'd avoid trying to do breathing in any particular manner. Trying to use any particular method may introduce problems. You don't know if you're understanding the instructions as they were meant—nor if they were sensible instructions in the first place.

              I think it's non-doing you want—stopping doing whatever it is that you shouldn't be doing. Getting out of your own way. There's an Alexander Technique saying: "Stop doing the wrong thing and the right thing does itself".

              I think this is a very important principe in general when it comes to the "body" (really, of course one is not a "body" and a "mind" but a psychosomatic unity). People are always tinkering with themselves.

              Breathing is an unconscious activity (although you can, of course, bring it into consciousness). And like other unconscious activities—digestion of your food, for example—it should just proceed smoothly without your having to think about it. It does proceed smoothly in animals and in people whose mode of life is "natural" enough not to disrupt normal functioning.

              There's a good account of how breathing should go on in Carolyn Nicholls' Body, Breath and Being:

              Amazon.com: Body, Breath and Being: A New Guide to the Alexander Technique (9781904468424): Carolyn Nicholls: Books

              What should happen is that the ribcage gently expands sideways as you breathe in. That's what it's built to do. What tends to happen is that many people have got into a habit of interfering with that in some way. Often people's ribcages are very inflexible, so the ribcage can be either sort of "fixed" or "instead of gently expanding sideways as the breath comes in ... is heaved up and down in one rigid block".

              It seems to me that one of the two people you mention is actually advising people to fix their ribcage. This would be a very bad idea. Or perhaps not exactly that, but as the diaphragm comes down the ribs should expand sideways. If your ribs are fixed, then the diaphragm would have to push the digestive organs out of the way. The solution here would be not to breathe more shallowly—you don't want to do that—but rather not to fix your ribs. Not doing something else—applying some "method"—but stopping doing what's i your way, non-doing.

              Along with poor breathing, Carolyn Nicholls, goes on to explain, there is often "a fixed jaw, clenched teeth, and, inevitably, a rigid neck and pulled back head".

              It's not really a separate thing from how you "use yourself" in general. I think you need to think in holistic terms rather than in terms of "methods" specifically to do with "breathing". The ribs will be freer when the back is lengthened and widened. A lot of people tend to move around without their full natural height and width. In Alexander Technique they teach you to let tight muscles go, so that you can regain this more natural expandedness. The head-neck relationship is crucial in humans—as it is in all vertebrates. We interfere with that. How often do you see someone in an office feeling a stiff neck, or asking for a neck-massage, in a movie or a police series or something? Stiff neck is a cultural habit. If you allow the neck to be free, which most people can do with a little guidance, the head floats a little more forward and up and that allows the spine to lengthen and the back to widen.

              I'd suggest you take a look at Carolyn Nicholls' book. There's a whole chapter on breathing that goes into far more detail.

              Practically speaking you'd certainly get benefit from Alexander lessons in breathing and in a lot of other things. It's a long time since I had a lesson myself, but I really must ...

              Other than that I'd just leave your breathing alone and not risk layering new and possibly counter-productive muscular habits on top of your current state. And apart from just leaving yourself alone as regards breathing, probably anything that over-tightens the abdomen—doing hundreds of sit-ups or something—would be best avoided.

              On the positive side, I think anything that helps us to relax and take life more smoothly would be helpful. (And, again, I should really take my own advice here ... ) That could be Tai Chi or meditation (or prayer come to that) or something of that nature. Stress and fear—again cultural habits for us in the modern world—are great producers of tension and, therefore, disruption of breathing.

              That's my take.

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              • #8
                Found the thread again... So I looked up Normal because there was s good chance I was FOS.
                Sea level to 3000 ft - 95-99%
                O ver 3000 ft- 90-99%
                And most trained mountain climbers have symptoms at under 92% per some random study where they asked people on a mountain whether or not they had a headache and checked their levels.
                “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
                Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                  Personally, I'd avoid trying to do breathing in any particular manner. Trying to use any particular method may introduce problems. You don't know if you're understanding the instructions as they were meant—nor if they were sensible instructions in the first place.

                  I think it's non-doing you want—stopping doing whatever it is that you shouldn't be doing. Getting out of your own way. There's an Alexander Technique saying: "Stop doing the wrong thing and the right thing does itself".

                  I think this is a very important principe in general when it comes to the "body" (really, of course one is not a "body" and a "mind" but a psychosomatic unity). People are always tinkering with themselves.

                  Breathing is an unconscious activity (although you can, of course, bring it into consciousness). And like other unconscious activities—digestion of your food, for example—it should just proceed smoothly without your having to think about it. It does proceed smoothly in animals and in people whose mode of life is "natural" enough not to disrupt normal functioning.

                  There's a good account of how breathing should go on in Carolyn Nicholls' Body, Breath and Being:

                  Amazon.com: Body, Breath and Being: A New Guide to the Alexander Technique (9781904468424): Carolyn Nicholls: Books

                  What should happen is that the ribcage gently expands sideways as you breathe in. That's what it's built to do. What tends to happen is that many people have got into a habit of interfering with that in some way. Often people's ribcages are very inflexible, so the ribcage can be either sort of "fixed" or "instead of gently expanding sideways as the breath comes in ... is heaved up and down in one rigid block".

                  It seems to me that one of the two people you mention is actually advising people to fix their ribcage. This would be a very bad idea. Or perhaps not exactly that, but as the diaphragm comes down the ribs should expand sideways. If your ribs are fixed, then the diaphragm would have to push the digestive organs out of the way. The solution here would be not to breathe more shallowly—you don't want to do that—but rather not to fix your ribs. Not doing something else—applying some "method"—but stopping doing what's i your way, non-doing.

                  Along with poor breathing, Carolyn Nicholls, goes on to explain, there is often "a fixed jaw, clenched teeth, and, inevitably, a rigid neck and pulled back head".

                  It's not really a separate thing from how you "use yourself" in general. I think you need to think in holistic terms rather than in terms of "methods" specifically to do with "breathing". The ribs will be freer when the back is lengthened and widened. A lot of people tend to move around without their full natural height and width. In Alexander Technique they teach you to let tight muscles go, so that you can regain this more natural expandedness. The head-neck relationship is crucial in humans—as it is in all vertebrates. We interfere with that. How often do you see someone in an office feeling a stiff neck, or asking for a neck-massage, in a movie or a police series or something? Stiff neck is a cultural habit. If you allow the neck to be free, which most people can do with a little guidance, the head floats a little more forward and up and that allows the spine to lengthen and the back to widen.

                  I'd suggest you take a look at Carolyn Nicholls' book. There's a whole chapter on breathing that goes into far more detail.

                  Practically speaking you'd certainly get benefit from Alexander lessons in breathing and in a lot of other things. It's a long time since I had a lesson myself, but I really must ...

                  Other than that I'd just leave your breathing alone and not risk layering new and possibly counter-productive muscular habits on top of your current state. And apart from just leaving yourself alone as regards breathing, probably anything that over-tightens the abdomen—doing hundreds of sit-ups or something—would be best avoided.

                  On the positive side, I think anything that helps us to relax and take life more smoothly would be helpful. (And, again, I should really take my own advice here ... ) That could be Tai Chi or meditation (or prayer come to that) or something of that nature. Stress and fear—again cultural habits for us in the modern world—are great producers of tension and, therefore, disruption of breathing.

                  That's my take.
                  Thank you all! Lewis, your reply was extremely helpful, and is along the lines of what I was thinking, but unable to articulate. =) In the Buteyko method, they seem to advocate belly breathing and keeping your ribcage rigid which doesn't make sense to me after all of the research I've done. However, I am still interested in what they say about people breathing too fast/deep--I'll look into that. I will definitely look up the Alexander Technique stuff you mentioned--I've heard good things about that method!
                  My etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/UrthForged
                  *hand-carved wood and bone jewelry*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
                    Found the thread again... So I looked up Normal because there was s good chance I was FOS.
                    Sea level to 3000 ft - 95-99%
                    O ver 3000 ft- 90-99%
                    And most trained mountain climbers have symptoms at under 92% per some random study where they asked people on a mountain whether or not they had a headache and checked their levels.


                    When I was still active in nursing, we usually had standing orders to apply O2 if someone had a pulse ox at 92%. I admit that most of the people I measured had some health condition compromising their readings but the average was usually about 95%. People with readings in high 90's were not patients.
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                    • #11
                      I recently read about Gokhale's method and had the same type of question. For a while I was told belly breathing was best and that is how children start out breathing. I had trouble with anxiety and one of the main "calming exercises" is abdominal breathing because it activates your calming centers (abdominal and slow). So when I read Gokhale's method about chest breathing, I was like...wha? She stated belly breathing is better used when you need a higher capacity of breath when doing vigorous activity like running (which to me seems hard since I would think you'd have your abdominals activated during those times, not allowing for much expansion in the belly).

                      @Lewis: Very interesting. I do like the idea of generally "letting go" and letting the breath be. I also feel, though, that generally people do not breathe well, even if they haven't been mindful or trying to change anything. Posture and stress can have major effects on breathing patterns as well as breathing structure. I am interested in reading that book though, and think that there certainly is something to the idea of just letting it be. Breath can also be very therapeutic when used mindfully as well.

                      As of right now I am incorporating the Gokhale method of posture and allowing my breath to come as/where it pleases. I do use belly breathing on occasion, usually when I'm in a relaxed posture such as stretch sitting or lying down (basically when I'm not holding myself up), but only for short periods of time.

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