By Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune
April 7, 2016
Take a second right now and concentrate on how you breathe.
Did you inhale through your nose? Did your belly expand as you filled your lungs with air, and then contract as you exhaled?
Was it a sustained rhythm that really filled your lungs? Or stilted?
Odds are, many Minnesotans aren’t quite doing it right, and a local nonprofit is out to do something about it.
Minnetonka-based BreathLogic is offering “breath literacy” classes at schools, workplaces and clinics — arguing that proper breathing can help people maximize their lung capacity and improve at intellectual and athletic endeavors.
“This is the super power that people have within themselves to improve their quality of life,” said Patty Morrissey, a nurse who spent years selling health care solutions and products for Procter & Gamble. She is now on the BreathLogic board.
“It’s not something you need to pay anyone for,” she added. “You don’t need to take a medication, you don’t need to take a class, you don’t need to buy a yoga mat.”
Relaxed, meditative breathing is often part of the instruction at the many yoga studios that have opened recently, and it’s discussed more and more at clinics and hospitals that are adding alternative therapies to their standard medical care.
But BreathLogic is promoting the notion that proper breath in and of itself can be therapeutic. It can be developed as an occasional relaxation technique to reduce stress and as a lifelong habit.
The nonprofit is hosting a benefit concert in Robbinsdale on April 17 to raise funds for its outreach efforts.
Newborns tend to get breathing right instinctively, expanding their bellies when they inhale and contracting them when they exhale, said Laurie Ellis-Young, a co-founder of BreathLogic who has developed training on proper breathing.
But through learned behavior, from often tired or stressed parents, they start to get it inverted and expand their chests rather than their bellies when they inhale, she said. “By osmosis, they start to pick up a way of breathing that is much more shallow.”
Ellis-Young loves teaching children because they can reverse the process, relearning good breathing and passing it along to their parents.
“They go home,” she said, “and tell their parents, ‘oh my gosh mom, breathe with your belly!’ ”