3 months ago I chose to make conscious breathing, a project.
To me a project is something I commit to and focus on, not for a sense of achievement or to say Ive done it, but more of a research experiment that I get to learn from and become better for it.
Conscious breathing is, to me, the act of controlling the breath, or being consciously aware of the breath as it enters and leaves the body. I’m not really 100% sure whether conscious breathing is the awareness, or the control, because what I’ve noticed is that whilst in the act of ‘paying attention to my body breathing’, I tend to slow down the rate of my breath and appreciate it more fully on all levels. I absorb more air each inhalation within seconds of paying close attention and within minutes I am in a completely different state of ease as I relax deeper into every inhalation, exaltation and the moments of pause in between.
My project was suggested to me by coach Jules, whom I’ve been working closely with for 15 months. He suggested 15 minutes per day to which I have executed on 87 days. The other 4 days I either forgot or fell short of the 15 minutes.
Each day, I would aim to sit still for 15 minutes at once, or accumulated if needed, and follow one of 3 different models of breathing: 1. Basic box breathing pattern of choice. 3/3/3/3 (3 seconds IN, HOLD, OUT, HOLD) 2. 4 Seconds in, 7 second hold, 8 second exhale 3. Focus on my current rhythm of breathing and pay attention to it, unaltered.
One of the great challenges I had with each of the techniques was actually staying committed to the task for 15 minutes or even 5 minutes at times. I noticed that my mind was chaotic some days and within a few minutes I was thinking of things I needed to achieve or hadn’t done. At times I would get itchy, uncomfortable, frustrated or perhaps even bored of 3/3/3/3 and want to adjust it to 4 seconds in, 7 out, 8 hold.
Through participating in this project I have observed many valuable lessons about myself during this important time:
1. Any project, any task, any moment, gives us a reflection of who we are being. Like Sharon pearson says, the way we do anything, is the way we do everything. So, if we are being busy, rushed, chaotic during our daily life and we decide to do our 15 minute breathing practice, we will likely approach that practice with urgency, chaotic thinking and rushed breathing. What’s so great about a regular practice is that through consistency we get to learn when we are calm and when we are erratic and use that awareness and in this case use the project of conscious breathing as a vehicle towards understanding who we are being and create a sense of ease and calm back into our day. Well, that was my experience.
2. I am intrigued about projects. Throughout my training life, I have called much of my fitness program ‘training’ and throughout my workout life, I have labelled work as ‘work’. This slight shift when answering people to the question “What are you doing?”, with ‘a breathing project’, I feel energised and excited at the thought of it. So, with this new awareness, much of my training I now refer to as projects. I have a foot project, a wrist project, a breathing project and many projects that are the focus of my fitness or life enjoyment journey.
3. Breathing for 15 minutes with my eyes closed or open, totally refreshes, invigorates and improves the quality of my mood. I see more clearly, I think more clearly, I feel healthier, I am more measured, I am calmer, I enjoy being around myself even more than normal.
4. I felt a lot calmer during my workouts during the CrossFit open. My awareness of my breath, or lack of breath, was heightened and I believe this made a huge difference during some gassy, lung burner workouts that came up in the 2019 CrossFit open that’s just gone. Also, breathing on the day and additional sessions of 3-10 minutes when I felt stressed allowed me to create more ease and peace in my body which led me to feeling more energised when I completed the workouts on the Friday nights.
With that all said, I am sticking with my breathing project, keen to engage with it on a doing level, rather than just reading about it which many people get stuck doing.
Just like CrossFit at CrossFit 3018, its an experience to be had that cannot be understood through reading a blog or lifting a bar in your garage, its an energy, an educational experience, a personal pursuit of excellence and a unifying experience that you will take with you for life.
Come and give it a whirl.
Tristan Enright Owner
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Left: Gillian Russom Coach 3 years and 6 years training with CrossFit 3018. CrossFit Level 1 certificate CrossFit Level 2 certificate Passionate about food, health and performance
Right: Tristan Enright Owner CrossFit 3018 CrossFit Level 1 Certificate CrossFit Level 2 Certificate CrossFit Mobility Certificate Weightlifting Power Coach Level 1 Weightlifting Power Coach Level 2 AEFM Model Passionate about people