Posts Tagged ‘Buteyko Breathing’

Day 8: (2) 20 Ks: Brain Drained fending off a cold

Since I began Buteyko breathing nine months ago, I have not had a cold or even felt like I’ve had to fight one off. I’ve been allergy free and experienced other benefits.

Today I am clearly fighting off a cold. Sounds simple and inconsequential to most people. But it takes all my brain energy, and at least in the past, just fighting one off can leave me recovering for days or weeks. Only time will tell how this plays out and how much of a delay this “inconsequential” wrinkle adds to when I run next.

May God startle you with joy!


What a Fantastic Retreat!

Alpineglow from the cabin’s deck.

A friend gave me the gift of a retreat and pilgrimage with him. We spent a week at another friend’s remote cabin around the Spanish Peaks near LaVeta, CO (Thank you!). Depending on the temperature and recent snow fall, I either ran in my moccasins or in my moccasins with snowshoes (which my feet really rebelled against, as the straps chaffed them raw a few places).

It was a grand test of my ear plugs, as they got quite a workout, with the long drive, in a new home with various noises, and then more long drives and even a few restaurants. They and I did wonderfully well, and the continued gifts and slurry of baby-step improvements from the Blood Type Diet, Primal Running, and Buteyko Breathing are clearly evident. Still waiting for my memory and cognitive capacity to improve. Perhaps with time and more running!

I did lose a few days to “short circuiting” — requiring time to recover because of cigarette smoke in our non-smoking room at one hotel (apparently there’s no such thing as no smoking rooms in even a brand new Casino. Who could have guess that one? Sardonic grin).

Baby Step Miracles!

Bathed in gentle alpine glow after a night’s snow, this view looks down Ute Pass.

As I connect with, learn, and live the basics of “God’s engineering” I am deeply humbled by how great we are made and how much we try and do things our way and simply gum up the works.

What do I mean by “God’s engineering?” I mean that God, through evolution, designed us to be the most beautiful and efficient and gifted creature on the planet: mind, body, and soul. Learning how to listen to our body and what it’s trying to tell us can make everything in life better. Two cases in point:

Primal Running:
When I first began going barefoot (last spring), my feet tingled as the blood rushed in, grew new tissue, woke up dormant neural connections and created new ones. My feet began giving the rest of my body input about where I as compared with the ground. My brain no longer had to struggle to figure this out. My body (from my navel down) just knew. As this awareness and reflex grew, I realized I could run. A few more months and constant testing to see if I still needed the 4 pound walking sticks, and I’ve shifted to 8 oz. trekking poles (Thank you, Mountain Chalet!). I’m now running and moving faster and more efficiently than ever (including before my brain injury!). I’m hopeful that running will help grow new connections and help me recover even more over time (studies show mice grown thousands of new brain cells when they run compared with when they don’t).

Primal Breathing:
Using the Buteyko breathing method, my breathing is now keeping the maximum amount of accessible oxygen in my blood, increasing my body’s efficiency throughout. I’ve even been able to run more in the afternoon and once in the evening (Mornings are my best “brain energy” time). I feel better more, have more brain energy, and my sinuses are not a constant presence in every moment of life. I suspect this new efficiency deeply contributed to my being able to go to lighter sticks, as it provides a better, more consistent oxygen supply to my brain.

Baby step miracles by way of learning how to listen to my body and the way God created me to breathe and move and eat (Blood Type Diet). I wonder what other aspects of life I take for granted that I’m actually doing things counter to how God created me? How else can I go primal? The search continues… Grin.

Plus 43.6 (Yes, I’ve been negligent in reporting them!)
Total mileage: 519.5 miles

Gadzooks! An Evening Run!

I most generally run in the morning, often starting long before sunrise. Why? Because that’s my best time of day. It appears Buteyko breathing may be changing that, at least occasionally. I just got back from an evening run through the last of twilight, arriving back at the time I typically go to bed. Not sure what this will do to tomorrow.

As for the breathing. I continue to progress. I’ve discovered that when I push my speed, or am climbing a hill, I need to mouth breath. It’s a bit like having a high gear. It has vastly helped me transition back to normal, shallow, spaced nose breaths upon my return (apparently living at 8,000 feet makes this more necessary than at sea level). After multiple days of cleansing, a day like today is a wondrous gift and I’m hopefully it’s a strong sign of what’s to come as my body become completely used to having the maximum amount of accessible oxygen possible.

Plus 12.4 miles
Total mileage 469.9

Back at it!

Och! One of the joys of life with brain injury is that even just fighting off a cold can knock you out for a week. That’s where I’ve been, not fully having a cold, but just enough of it to knock me out of doing anything for a while.

Amazingly, I didn’t lose any of the progress I’d made on my breathing (my control pause is now up to 30). And on my runs, it feels completely normal to breath nose only, and on the little hills (not the mile plus long ones) I hardly think about the fact that I’m going up hill.

Plus 7.2 miles
Total Milage: 450.5

Breathing amazing!

Today’s run was amazing. I ran 3 miles on my “easy trail” (just 200 feet drop and climb in 1.5 miles). Then I added in a more vertical road loop that climes 200 feet in a half mile to see how I would do breathing. I entered into the climb and while my breathing deepened it was still slow(er than it used to be) and relaxed. I could feel I was really raising the CO2 in my blood supply and also reaching my threshold at which I could maintain my pace.

On a second run, I did one of my favorite trails, a 4 mile out and back, with a 900 foot climb in the first mile. I definitely pushed my limit the whole way up, but literally within steps of the trail getting less steep I was already able to have a short pause in my breathing.

It is truly amazing to be running in “primal glide” while breathing slow with a pause. No billowing cloud of breath in my visual way in the 5F air. No cold mouth or lips. Just properly warmed air by the time it got to my lungs. This sure feels like how we’re born to run!

Plus 8.5 miles
Total: 427.3 Miles

Breathing deeper by breathing shallower

Mountain mahogany on a crisp highland morning

Today is one week of Buteyko breathing. I clearly see the benefits, and also the price of getting toward them. Today’s run (I’m keeping them to three miles for now as I adjust) was amazing — a taste of what i’t like to run along smoothly primal style while breathing slow and gentle. Transcendent and yet utterly present in the moment. Beautiful. It sure is wild to be running along as fast as I used to run the same trail, yet breathing a fraction as hard, and feeling far better — knowing I have a reserve and I could run even harder, especially as I get closer to the goal of a control pause of 40 (I’m at a measly 16 now, up from a start of 6).

I wonder what role altitude plays with making the transition? I spend an hour yesterday in my hyperbaric chamber. While in it I really pushed myself with the breathing exercises, and the effects seem to have helped me reach a new level. I wonder if living at 8000 feet makes the transition harder/slower? Using the chamber really seems to make a difference. I’ve used it today also. Usually I wait 12 days, to allow my brain to keep up with the changes — but I’m testing out if it’s actually my O2 and CO2 levels that got out of whack and it takes 12 days for my body to recover. I imagine the chamber magnifies any mistakes or benefits of our breathing.

Plus 9 miles (3 miles over three days)
Total milage: 418.8

Starting Buteyko Breathing — Amazing!

This is my third day of breathing using only the shallow breathing advocated by the Buteyko Breathing Method. I found it on the internet after starting to breathe exclusively through my nose. Doing so, I felt better than I have in a number of ways, but after running I experienced severe sinus congestion akin to allergies (from some sort of irritant, no real idea what — perhaps simply oversensitivity to particles in the air, cold air, or volume of air).
Immediately after starting it, I was able to run a few miles and return and not experience any sinus congestion. How? By taking shallow breaths. There’s not really any more to it than that (that I know of yet), but the book and practitioners can guide you through it as the amazing simple can be oddly deceptive when it comes to something so foundational and unconscious as how we breathe.
Yesterday, I did a regular run and kept up my normal speed. Again, no congestion. Today I’m experiencing a “cleansing day” — the idea is that by breathing shallower (normal), my O2 and CO2 levels begin to come into balance, which makes the oxygen more accessible to the cells, and everything in the body works better. However, when first starting this, it’s possible to experiencing the body cleaning house of scum that couldn’t be gotten rid of when there was too little CO2 and too much O2 — a bit like how scrubbing the tile and grout in the bath makes a mess in the tub.
Here are a few excerpts from my breathing log:
Today is an intriguing day. I feel like I have scrubbing bubbles of accessible oxygenated blood everywhere in my body, like all my tissues and capillaries are effervescing. Images of the cleaning solution with the “cleaning bubbles” seem appropriate. I don’t want solid food (a first for me since my brain injury), but am instead craving only salad, “Green Magma” and fruits. We’ll see how long that lasts. Clearly I am cleansing, or detoxing, at a cellular level, but I’ve never felt it happen this way. While my body is resting and not up for much, it’s rather the feeling of resting in bed on a cold winter’s day, than a negative thing that I strive to embrace and carry on as best I can (those “brain fatigue” days happen a lot with brain injury, and are one of the things on which I’m curious to see the effects of Buteyko. The bottom line today: even feeling worse, I feel better.
I continue to have layers of paint feel like they peal out of “new” areas of my sinuses — perhaps areas that have been closed off?
Breathing light is very easy now, feeling more like a new normal than a new odd. The rhythm and feeling of shallow breaths is starting to be more unconscious and conscious. I have done no sprays or oils or other sinus meds since starting Buteyko.
I suspect that my body has to be cleansed to the fullest extent possible before it’s ready to make the next leap in improved Control Pause.
Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress