Oxygen Addiction: The Rise of Chronic Overbreathers

When was the last time you thought about a breath you took?

If I had to take a guess, it wouldn’t be a moment in recent memory. And to be honest, that really is a good thing in many ways. What that reveals is that our bodies have efficiently passed off the duties of breathing to our adaptive/subconscious mind, as a part of the natural, habitual functions that keep our bodies operating and alive. This is beneficial because it frees up our mind and our energy to be fully invested in our other pursuits, activities, or tasks in day-to-day life.

But breathing is no trivial part of our existence. in fact, it is the most fundamental cornerstone to life itself. As Patrick McKeown aptly states:

“We can live without food for weeks and water for days, but air just a few brief moments.”

Breathing - What it Means, What it Can Do, and Why

This past month I had the privilege of attending a “Breathing Performance and Recovery Camp" down in Costa Mesa, CA.  Now, in hearing the title, you may be thinking: what could possibly be the purpose in that? 

Simply put, breathing is the base source of life.  Without it, we don’t stand a chance.  On average, we inhale and exhale around 20,000 times a day!  When we inhale, Oxygen (O2) is delivered to the body by means of the lungs, and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is then discharged by the exhale.  When we no longer breathe in oxygen, there won’t be enough oxygen in the bloodstream for the vital organs, and the result will ultimately be death.  This is not a trivial part of life, but rather an essential element.

Okay, enough with the basics, how does CONSCIOUS BREATHING impact performance, health, and human flourishing?