Some of the greatest things, the greatest discoveries, have come about by serendipity. Let’s explore its magic here.
Few years back while working with a colleague in his cubicle, I noticed that a reminder would pop up on his screen every 10 minutes with just one word written on it – Breathe. I tried ignoring it initially but after some time I had to ask him, “Dude! Do you really need to remind yourself to breathe?”
“It’s not just about breathing!” he replied with a smile.
“Care to throw some light?” I asked him.
He started explaining, “Of course, I don’t need to remind myself to breathe. Nobody needs to. Everyone knows how to breathe. It is something that occurs to us automatically, spontaneously, and naturally. We are breathing even when we are not aware of it.
“However, I do need to remind myself to breathe properly,” he continued, “You might find it foolish that there is a proper and improper way of breathing. I mean how hard is it? Just breathe in, and breathe out. Right?”
“Yeah, right.” I said.
“Wrong! The truth is that most people don’t realize the power of breath. If done properly it can increase your energy and productivity manifolds,” he said.
I was intrigued with his statement, but before he could tell me more about it he had to leave for a meeting. But I couldn’t wait so I went ahead and started reading and researching on my own on this and what I found was remarkably profound and life changing.
Control Switch for Physiology
I guess you would agree with me that our behavior influences our performance and the results we produce.
Now what defines our behaviour? Our thoughts. Isn’t it?
And thoughts are governed by feelings which in turn are controlled by our emotions. Our emotions take shape based on our physiology – health, general state of well-being, breathing, heart-rate, etc. Now this isn’t something new and you probably know about this already.
Most of our physiology is largely seen as an effect rather than cause. A common belief is that our physiology can’t be controlled or changed immediately. But there is one thing which is in our control that can control a lot of other involuntary activities like heart rate, body temperature, etc. And that control button is how you breathe.
Let me share some interesting trivia about where else breathing is a well-known tool for performance.
Tennis players use a certain pattern of bouncing the ball or a breathing pattern to put them in an optimum state of mind also referred as ‘the zone’. Right breathing is an effective tool for not just every sportsperson but for many actors and stage artists also.
Ask any accomplished actor and he will tell you that dialogue delivery is all about breathing in a certain way. I remember Aamir Khan talking about how he can induce an emotion in his body just by changing his breathing patterns. That’s what separates him from others – he doesn’t just act but actually lives the character.