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SLOW DOWN! - The Protocol

SLOW DOWN! is designed to help “re-train” the breathing pattern with the goal of slowing breathing frequency and increasing breathing depth. The typical adult breathes at the rate of 17 to 19 breaths per minute with very little depth. Evidence is mounting that breathing in this way harms health and reduces performance, and the opposite - breathing properly improves health, improves well-being, and improves performance.

Often, the breathing process does not reorient itself overnight. This is because we must learn to use the mind/body in a new way, specifically as it relates to conscious control of the “diaphragm” and “intercostals” - the muscles of respiration. In this regard, we can think of breathing as a form of exercise, one that we do 24 hours a day, or at least during our waking hours. As with most other forms of exercise, proper breathing requires practice.

SLOW DOWN! is designed to assist with this re-training process, allowing you to begin at the breathing frequency with which you’re most comfortable and gradually decreasing breathing frequency and increasing breathing depth, with the ultimate goal of breathing smoothly and rhythmically at the nominal rate of 5 breaths per minute, 3-4 times slower than typical adult breathing.

As you proceed to breathe more slowly and deeply, it is likely that you will experience profound changes in health, well-being, and performance. (To find out more about why this is true, please see The New Science of Breath and Coherent Breathing - The Definitive Method, both by Elliott & Edmonson, www.coherence.com)

SLOW DOWN! presents 16 consecutive breathing rhythms, ranging from 20 breaths per minute to 5 breaths per minute. Each recording consists of a high note followed by a low note, that repeats over and over again for the duration of the track. We suggest inhaling on the high note and exhaling on the low note. Toward the end of each note, you’ll hear a chime. The chime signals that the note is about to end and that a change from inhalation to exhalation or from exhalation to inhalation is nearing.

Specific Instructions:

Step 1: Before you begin, sit comfortably for a moment. With a watch or clock, count the number of times you normally inhale or exhale per minute. Try not to change your current breathing pattern, just count the number of inhalations or exhalations. Record this number. We’ll call it our “CBR” or “Current Breathing Rate”.

Step 2: Turn on SLOW DOWN! Find the track that corresponds to your “CBR”, for example “15 breaths per minute”, and practice breathing at this rate for the duration of the track, about 4 minutes. This helps to develop a smooth rhythmic breathing cycle at your current breathing rate.

Step 3: When the 1st track ends, it will automatically step to the next track. When it does, begin inhaling and exhaling at this lower rate for the duration of this next track. Continue in this way for 2 or 3 tracks, for example, 15, 14, & 13 breaths per minute.

Step 4: The next day, begin at your CBR, minus 1, again practicing for 2 or 3 tracks, for example, 14, 13, & 12 breaths per minute. Continue in this way, with the ultimate goal of comfortably reaching 5 breaths per minute. Once you do, try to breathe at 5 breaths per minute all the time, circumstances permitting.

 

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