Everything You Were Taught About How To Breathe While Running Was Wrong!
If you’re like most people, at some point a P.E. teacher, coach, fitness instructor or personal trainer told you that the correct way to breathe while exercising — especially running– is
“In Through The Nose And Out Through The Mouth”
But What If They Were Wrong?
What if what you were taught about how to breathe was actually doing more damage to your health, fitness and performance than good?
It’s a bold statement, but unfortunately it’s more than likely true. Let me explain. In our fast-paced, modern world the vast majority of people are suffering from chronic stress. We have demanding work schedules, family obligations and social events to attend which all add up to quite a bit of mental and emotional stress. When you throw exercise into the mix, you’re now adding physical stress.
We’ve all been told that exercise is beneficial to our health. I agree, heck I’ve been a runner since I was 14 years old! But here’s where the facts get interesting. When we breathe incorrectly, especially during exercise– we stimulate our sympathetic nervous system. In other words, our fight-or-flight response. What this means is that our favorite activity– running– could actually be contributing to something that I call the ‘stress treadmill syndrome’.
The symptoms of running on the stress treadmill include:
- Lack of energy and vitality
- Sleep disorders
- Inability to recover adequately
- Chronic pain and nagging injury
- Performance plateaus
- Anxiety and overwhelm
- Inability to lose weight
The good news is that you can begin to alleviate and even eliminate the symptoms of chronic stress– mentally, emotionally and physically — through your breath. In fact, Dr. Andrew Weil has been known to say that if he could give one piece of advice to people to improve health and longevity it would be to ‘learn how to breath properly’.
Over the past decade I’ve been teaching my clients and athletes how to breathe correctly while exercising. And what I’ve discovered is that when they learn how to breathe in a certain way while exercising, they begin to experience
- Improved energy levels
- More vitality
- Faster recovery
- Regulation of their bodies natural rhythms related to sleep and digestion
- Improved performaces
- A sense of relaxation, even while exercising
- Less strain and fatigue while running
- The feeling of effortless effort, and being ‘in the flow’
I’m a firm believer that the breath is a key factor in achieving optimal levels of health and longevity as well as attaining transformative results in our body and our performance. I created the Breathe.Run.Breathe program to fill a void in the health and fitness industry.
There are very few programs that provide a step-by-step process– a framework — to safely and effectively teach people how to breathe correctly during cardiovascular exercise such as running. On top of that, most endurance sport athletes need a system for learning these breathing techniques and incorporating them into their current training routine without ‘losing ground’. This program was developed through my own process of trial and error in order to come up with a framework that produced results not only for me, but also for my clients.
“In the past I would train like crazy, thinking that would make me faster. I’d train four or five hours a day, end up burning myself out, getting injured and not performing well in races. My stress was compounding because of my workouts, job, and family commitments and I wasn’t doing especially well at any one. It was frustrating at many levels.
At one point my blood pressure reached very high levels and my doctor prescribed medication. His recommendation was to exercise and reduce my stress. I told him how much I exercised and he commented “You need to reduce your stress.” My first thought was “How the heck am I going to do that! I work for a start up company in Silicon Valley and have two sons and want to race triathlons.”
In a meeting with a consultant at work, I mentioned my stress levels and he commented “I can tell from your body language, tone of voice, and energy level.” His suggestion was to “Try meditating. I use it every day and my mentor meditates 6 hours a day.” I was not very open to the idea of meditating; I needed to exercise.
So when I heard about Pranayama Running, I figured I’d give it a try. It seemed like the perfect blend of working out and yoga and I thought it couldn’t hurt to try and it was much better than taking medication and just sitting around meditating.
At first a lot of the terminology and practices Lisa teaches in Pranayama Running were foreign and seemed a bit strange to me. But I stayed open to going through her program and kept telling myself, ‘I’m just going to try this, even if it feels weird.’
After the third PYR practice I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m just so relaxed! I can’t believe this.’ I was in such a good mood. I was doing better at work, having more fun with my kids, and enjoying my workouts. Being an engineer, I like to track metrics, so I was also keeping records of how stressed out I was feeling, what my resting heart rate was, how I felt physically, my perceived exertion when I was running, and my levels of motivation.
I noticed that all of the metrics were moving in a positive direction. I was feeling less stressed out, my heart rate was lower, I felt more energized, my levels of perceived exertion decreased, and I was more motivated. I found that when I was doing the PYR practice, even though it felt strange at first, I really wanted to run, and it was because of the feeling I would have afterwards, not to just to improve my race time.
After the first 4 weeks of doing the PYR practice, I had a chance to meet with our consultant and his first comment was ‘ Scott, you look very relaxed!.’ This was a big thing, because I was currently working on a key company
Gina Kehr 43
Professional Triathlete Ironman National Champion 2003
Owner Affinity Multisport
“As a professional triathlete and a coach, one of the biggest problems I see is that people aren’t recovering from their workouts the way they need to be in order to stay fit and healthy.
I see so many people struggling with learning how to calm their mind and their body so that they can recover adequately. I would absolutely recommend PYR because so many people push themselves too hard in their training and their workouts and then end up with injuries.
The PYR practice gives you the opportunity to approach your workouts with a more mindful attitude, and is an ideal practice to integrate into any endurance training plan. The breath work that Lisa teaches in the PYR practice is a key component to recovery.
I love Lisa’s PYR practice and recommend it 100% to anyone who’s looking to improve their fitness levels and who want to be sure that they can continue their training and racing over the long-term by staying healthy both in their body and in their mind.”
Ashley Selman 43
Owner Evolution Trainers National Javelin Champion 1992
Coached Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Brandi Chastain
“In my 20 years of working as a personal trainer and coach, the most common problem I see with people nowadays is that they’re dealing with high stress lives and cramming their workouts into their busy schedule in an
effort to try to stay fit.
A lot of the clients I see have chronic injuries and sometimes it has to do with something structural in their body, but more often, it’s actually stress-related just by the fact that they’re not getting enough sleep. They’re going through their lives with everything tensed up, tight necks, and not breathing properly. It just leads to tightness throughout their body which adds to the chronic injuries that they’re dealing with.
What I like about Pranayama Running and what I think is different about it is the mindfulness that Lisa brings into the practice. So many people these days want to be fit and so they just drive themselves into the ground.
They’re short on time, they just go to the gym and work as hard as they can and leave. They don’t really ever make the connection between what’s happening in their body when they’re working out, listening to their body to
make sure that they’re taking care of it while they’re trying to get fit, and not hammering it to try to get fit.
Pranayama Running is so different from anything else that I’ve seen out there right now because it combines the practice of becoming mindful about how your body is feeling, and using that mindfulness to get you to a better
place of health and fitness as opposed to blocking out what you’re feeling and just pushing yourself into the ground.
I’ve also learned so much over the last few years about how beneficial breathing is. You hear about breathing in meditation and yoga and that breathing is healing to your body. It helps to open up our body and get oxygen to our muscles, and there are just so many benefits to it. So in that alone, I think this program is really beneficial as well as the performance enhancements. I really think that sets the Pranayama Running practice apart, and that makes me excited to use it with my clients.”
“When I was younger I used to train and race in triathlons, but because of a back injury that happened at work, I gave up running and turned to cycling here in Colorado. I also enjoy hiking, and when we get snow, I’m out cross
One of the unexpected benefits I got from the PYR practice was that I was able to start running again. My back wasn’t hurting as much because I was in such a relaxed state. I was able to get up to running 4 miles again, which is more than I ever thought I’d be able to do.
Using the Pranayama Running practice on a regular basis has made a huge difference for me in how I exercise because I learned to become much more mindful of how my body feels moment to moment. I’ve also learned to
become much more accepting of my body, and to not demand so much of it when it’s clearly telling me to ‘slow down’.
At first I thought that the Pranayama Running practice was just about breathing differently, but really it’s so much about learning the proper mindset. After a few weeks of consistently following the program and using Lisa’s mp3s for my PYR practice, I started to notice that my mindset was shifting and because of that, I was able to listen to my body and not judge myself the way I used to.
PYR is great for people my age whose bodies can’t handle the higher intensity workouts that they used to do, but who still want to stay fit and healthy. The PYR practice is really unique; you have to experience it to really appreciate it. There is nothing out there that I know of that you can do on your own that would replicate what Lisa has created in this program. If you have any type of chronic injuries, or you’re not feeling good about your
workout program, or feel like you need to reduce stress in your life, then you need to try this program.”
Jennifer Arbitrario 41
“I’ve been doing triathlons for about 11 years on and off, and I’ve been training with Lisa practically the entire time. In 2004 I was training with Lisa for the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Ironman Triathlon. I had been training from
November 2003 to June, 2004 and when I completed that Ironman, I was super proud. Four months later in September of 2004, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was shocking to say the least—I went from being super fit to below zero. Immediately after the surgery, I had weakness on the entire right side of my body and I had additional complications due to a bone infection, so I had to go back in for two more surgeries.
After the tumor was removed, my reflexes were really off, and I still struggle with slower reaction time on my right side. I had problems with trying to talk and walk, and writing was difficult. It was mentally challenging because I
knew I used to do all of these things easily and felt like I should be able to do them, but I couldn’t. Emotionally it was frustrating. I wanted to understand why this was happening to me, but I was also really determined and knew I could overcome it somehow.
I started practicing Pranayama Running when Lisa introduced the techniques out at track practice for the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club. I was really interested in learning it because I thought that maybe it could help me in my
recovery. Because my brain surgery left me with nerve issues on my right side, I get fatigued a lot earlier than I used to before the tumor. I just wanted to get back to the base level of fitness I had before I trained for the Ironman and not feel so fatigued.
I was really curious about Pranayama Running and wondered if I could feel less fatigued using the techniques
because it puts you in this state of mind where it’s less stressful on your body. I was willing to try anything.
Since then, I’ve been practicing PYR as much as possible. I’m very conscious about running. Since my surgery, I’ve done marathons using the PYR techniques.
My times were actually faster with the nasal breathing techniques which was amazing. I also use it when I hike and when I walk. I use the PYR practice almost daily and it’s very calming and I feel so much better at the end of my workouts overall. I didn’t realize how much I would benefit from PYR until I started using it. It’s been so helpful for me in my recovery that I would recommend it to anybody.”
Leslie MacKensie 48
“I’ve been practicing Pranayama Running since Lisa introduced it to the members of the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club at track workouts about 9 years ago, so I’ve been using the techniques for a long time. I’ve used the PYR
techniques for my Ironman races in Florida and New Zealand. I’ve also found that Pranayama Running really is practice that you can use for any endurance/aerobic activity.
So I’ve also used it for my long distance cycling when I’ve trained and ridden double and triple century rides.
One of the wonderful things about Pranayama Running is that it leaves me feeling so much more relaxed. I’m so much less fatigued when I’m done with a long workout so I’ve really found that it’s just a great benefit as an
I also find that after about 15 or 20 minutes into my run, I drop into a real meditative state so I can put my mind somewhere else and let my body relax. I feel so much more refreshed using the PYR techniques. It’s paid off in my training and my racing in a really big way.”
“I was introduced to Pranayama Running back when Lisa used to coach the Silicon Valley Triathlon club. I started incorporating the breathing techniques into my trail runs probably about three years ago. Over time I noticed that I felt stronger and more relaxed when I was running. My husband even started to make comments about how I’m running better now than I used to, especially on the more challenging trails.
As an older adult, I want to be one of those 80-plus-year-old women who are still running, so I’m always looking for ways to keep my body fit and healthy. The Pranayama Running practice has helped me do that because of the
combination of being more mindful of my body and the breathing techniques.
A lot of my friends are triathletes, and I see so many of them who have the mentality that it’s all about work, work, work, work, work. They’re always injured. As we age, our bodies can’t do all that work—at a certain point your
body’s going to say, “I know you want me to go faster, but this is as fast as I can go.”
I think that their bodies would be happier and they would have a longer racing career if they learned how to use and incorporate the Pranayama Running practice into their training routine. I’ve noticed that the Pranayama Running practice has made my running more enjoyable and it feels much more effortless now than it used to before I used the techniques.
I know that PYR gives me a way to continue doing what I love to do as I continue to get older.”