Breathe (right), active women’s new obsession

It’s scientifically proven: 90% of us can’t breathe properly! Luckily, working on your breath can be learned and is vital for health, energy, immunity, and cognitive function. Timely investigation.

It started as little music. An email sent by this female leader offering a breathing evening with a yoga teacher organized at her home. The reaction of the guests, their enthusiastic willingness to react, accelerated the tempo again: “brilliant idea”, some launched; “Finally a moment to breathe!” the others added. A few days later, it is another high-level interlocutor who, over lunch, advises this book that has changed her life and energy, especially at work: To breathe, the bestseller by American journalist James Nestor, which was published in the USA last year and is now also available in France. This impressive poll, conducted by the author of Deep (his first book, in which he was already scientifically exploring the world of freediving), with much support from neuroscientific studies and meetings with top researchers (especially from Harvard), reveals the untold powers of breathing on our health. , our immunity, our sleep and also on the functioning of our cognitive functions. “I’ve changed everything in my habits,” his reader continues, impressed. And I offered it to all my employees.

In video, telework: 8 tips to create breathing moments

Everywhere from yoga centers to medical rooms, heart coherence classes are opening to packed homes. The free RespiRelax+ application, developed by Les Thermes d’Allevard, a thermal spa in the Alps specializing in the treatment of respiratory diseases, and recognized by the entire medical profession, has become one of the most downloaded in France (2 million downloads) . . His followers don’t just come to appease themselves in the face of her stressed lifebut – and this is the new thing – for improve their immunity, “decrease the body’s overall level of inflammation” and “restore the full potential of their cognitive functions”. What role does breathing play in this? This question guided this investigation.

Day and night freediving

China Lanzmann is a specialized trainer female leadership in Paris. The year 2021? She crossed them in a long fog. “I was getting more and more tired,” recalls the founder of the company Woman Impact. And I always found a good reason to explain this tiredness – the Covid vaccine, my in-laws arriving home for Christmas… But every day, after two or three hours of work, I was floored. I couldn’t work anymore, couldn’t think anymore, and I even got around to seriously convincing myself that I’d become stupid. She puts together her schedule. Granted a Nap every day …, gets bogged down.

25% of adults over 30 officially suffer from sleep apnea, 80% of cases go undiagnosed

A visit to her family doctor changes everything: she suspects late-onset sleep apnea and advises her to be tested by a cardiologist. “You’re paired with a finger oximeter to a machine that measures your breathing for a whole night,” China explains. The diagnosis is clear: severe sleep apnea. “The machine showed me choking thirty-five times an hour. Through the survival instinct, the brain then sends a micro-discharge to your body, causing a micro-awakening. And so it goes until the morning that leaves you exhausted.” Since this diagnosis, Chine Lanzmann has been sleeping with a machine that prevents her airway from becoming blocked. “I’m alive again!” she exclaims. I can easily work all day with much more energy than before. I couldn’t live without it.”

Today, scientists estimate that while 25% of adults over the age of 30 officially suffer from sleep apnea, 80% of cases go undiagnosed. Therefore, this year the government launched a national health campaign on the subject. So much for night breathing. But this, James Nestor teaches us, is entirely dependent on how we breathe during the day. In this case from ours ability to breathe well through the nose – Not only does stress block breathing, it also causes us to suck in air through our mouth. Our ability to regulate the rhythm of our breathing also plays a role – we’ll see why later: a discipline that has become a daily lifestyle for many Americans… and more and more French women.

seek appeasement

Isabelle Dubern, founder of the website TheInvisibleCollection, discovered them while reading the Campaign Memories from Hillary Clinton, written after her loss in the 2017 presidential election. “She explained that her secret was to practice the famous heart coherence exercise called 3-6-5 to keep up with the campaign: exercise three times a day, at six execute breaths per minute, for five minutes, she points out. I said to myself: if a woman this busy can do it, so can I! Today I practice these breaths before a board meeting or a complicated appointment. The exercise has also greatly eased the strain of late night Zoom meetings, in my case six or seven a day, as our offices are between London, Paris and New York.

How would you specifically describe the advantages? “It has helped me to start these meetings super calm and very positive,” she continues, to avoid the feeling of suffocation that she, her and all the screens that lock us in can give. My whole lifestyle has benefited: I have clearer ideas and feel so much less weary. It has also helped me rebalance my hormones, which is never insignificant during the premenopausal period…”

Optimal brain function

So better breathing would help balance the body, think better? That’s what the studies say. If the role of breathing in immunity and health has been scientifically proven, the evidence for its effects on brain function is very new. For example, the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (CRNL) has discovered that the rhythm of breathing acts as a kind of brain metronome, a synchronization tool that facilitates communication between the different areas of the brain, especially when we are calm and awake. In other words, quiet breathing, achieved for example by increasing the interval between inspiration and expiration, sets the stage for optimal cognitive function.

Provided – here we are – to breathe well through the nose: it is probably thanks to the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity (sensitive to pressure fluctuations) that the breathing rhythm is transmitted to the brain. Another scientific study (Pearl et al., 2019) showed that the brain synchronization phenomenon disappeared when participants breathed through their mouths.

Maybe you have to breathe out what you are holding on to yourself, take a break

Valérie Accary, Les metamorFoses association

And it’s not over yet. “The new era of intuitive neurotechnology continues to expand our field of knowledge,” adds Delphine Remy-Boutang, founder of Digital Women’s Day and The Bureau (digital strategy consultancy). I discovered an amazing company, ONTBO (OK not to be OK), created by Athénaïs Oslati, a young 26-year-old entrepreneur. Its technology, thanks to theartificial intelligence, analyzes the emotions of its user and sends him “the” music that will accompany, reinforce or balance his current state, thus leading him to better cardiac coherence. When human intelligence is combined with artificial intelligence, we can improve cognitive performance, fight depression and stress in more personalized ways.

Breathing is individual

The last word counts. Blandine Stintzy, a former polytechnic and screenwriter, also practices the Feldenkrais Method. In its center of the VIe Arrondissement in Paris, she organizes breathing workshops* for executives who, like her before, are overburdened or oppressed by back pain. “One breath is very personal,” she says. The pace and amount of air each person requires will vary based on their location, location, or altitude. Our brains, of course, have the ability to regulate that first movement, breathing, to get the right amount of it to the muscles or parts of our body that need it, but we have forgotten or unlearned how to do it. Many people stop breathing when trying to control their breath. Or, conversely, they are in an over-oxygen supply.

the Feldenkrais Method asks the person how it works to help them find the natural path of the breath in the body. From a breath perspective, what happens when you release your pelvis slightly instead of straightening to stand up straight? Or when you move your chin forward to release the air under the roof of your jaw? Well, often we yawn. Without stopping, like releasing a river that has been dammed for too long. “Exploring an area, an unfamiliar movement, helps to connect the analytical brain with the intuitive brain, that of emotions,” explains Blandine Stintzy. It releases enthusiasm, a different relationship to the unknown and ultimately creativity. I tested it with many central and polytechnic students, believe me it works!”

find inspiration

Valérie Accary, former president of the communications agency BBDO France and now at the head of the Les MétamorFoses association, hallucinated the effect on her guests during the three breath-taking evenings that she organized at home. “When we breathe, we always speak better, and it’s like it frees listening, too,” she says. On those three evenings, everyone talked so seldom about their lives, the changes that were happening inside them, their desires to do something else, somewhere else. Maybe you have to breathe out what you’re holding back, take a break, find a second wind, let things inspire you again.

scary news, pressurized world of work… “Today everyone is holding their breath, as if they wanted to protect themselves from danger,” analyzes Valérie Accary. But in doing so we lose it, along with the freedom, the lust. I would even say the vision. However, what defines a leader’s strength is their inspired vision, their ability to lead the teams behind them. Catching your breath means getting moving again. “I would add that working on your breathing gives perspective and helps fight it constant sense of urgencyTo end this urgency escapes Delphine Remy-Boutang. If we watch his breathing, we see that nothing really stops. We are in a movement, a permanent construction. It’s important to find that sense of progress over a long period of time. In a world where everything is accelerating, it can even help you stay sane.

In the video breathing exercises for relaxation before an important appointment


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