When using the breath to positively influence psychological states of being, we’re also working with brain wave patterns. Our 9 to 5 mind is operating with the brain wave pattern called Beta. That’s the one you’re using to read this article. A little bit slower is called Alpha waves. This is the creative wave pattern involved in “overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.” Slower than that is called Theta waves when you’re not fully awake or asleep. It’s the perfect space to learn new concepts if you can stay awake. The slowest is Delta waves which happen during sleep when the brain is repairing itself from our day and organizing itself for tomorrow (Brainworks, n.d.).
Think of the breath-based warm-up as moving from Beta to Alpha. We’re integrating the body and mind for healthful action throughout our entire workout. With “planned, structured and repetitive” breathing techniques within the workout, we can transform the old feedback loop from that of stress-based induced exercise to one of balance and neuroplasticity.
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To learn more about becoming neuro-fit and incorporating Breath AS Medicine in your training, check out Ed’s Breath AS Medicine: Improving Health and the Training Experience online course or the more extensive 15-Hour Breath Training online course.