Friday, February 5, 2010

Yoga Journal Conference, Day 2: Session 3: Breathing: Physiology and Practice with Roger Cole

Roger Cole

Breathing: Physiology and Practice Roger Cole - Course ID: M3COLE 
Mixed Levels
Saturday, January 30 — 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Main Conference - Session 3
Learn the basics of breathing science, from the molecular level to its effects on consciousness. We'll explore and practice breathing mechanics and physiology that apply directly to both pranayama and everyday life.  Lecture and breathing practice.

Roger's workshop was mostly a power point presentation with some breath-work.
Awesomely geeky, and very male.  Roger had a great style of repeating back questions to make sure he heard them correctly.  His pace was focused, fast and sharp.  This course validated what we have been teaching at Lulu's about the breath and the nervous system, giving a few more anatomical details and ways of expressing the miracle of respiration.

a natural property of nature
when there is an imbalance, nature finds a balance
this is the basis of respiration
Slide 1:
A slide with two blobs and lots of dots.

biproduct of effort

"Respiration is the basis of life."
One definition of respiration is the "exchange of gases and the resultant burning of energy"

Regulation of a sense of vitality (not breath), but the techniques use breath.

We are trying to improve our subjective experience.

And there is a continual evolution of breathing.
Roger put forth the idea that we are still breathing the same breath that we first breathed.
This was a BIG idea and not an easy one to wrap around.
I allowed it to wash through and over.

"The Robust Biological systems that maintain our breathing"
There is an inherent Wisdom built in from the beginning.

"the natural breath is the most powerful pranayama"

Trust in the Breath
Start from where you are

Mechanics of Breathing
Roger showed a slide detailing the Lung Anatomy.
From the Trachea to the Bronchi to the Avioli.
- 3 Lobes in Right
- 2 Lobed in Left

Avioli are like small little grapes with the thinnest skin where the gas exchange happens.
Blood stream cannot carry enough oxygen on its own, so hemoglobin evolved to grab extra.

Stale Air
we never breath out all the air
stays like "dead space in the tubes"
this has an impact on the next breath
best posture to remove stale air is Savasana
more than aerobic activity

Mechanism of Ashtma
bronchials have muscles around them
in exercise induced asthma, the bronchi swell up and constrict
hard to breath in and out
opening the bronchi is the solution
restricting exhalation to increase pressure to back up in lungs is one method
(the breathing through a straw or into a paper bag)

There was a question about inversions helping to release stale air
Yes, the diaphragm is pushing more on the lungs and the weigh of the internal organs are resting on it, BUT the ribs swing up and out, the lateral dimension is increased so don't get full exhalation.

"Observe and See what Happens"

Control of Respiration
level of CO2 in bloodstream determines our breath.
medulla oblongata is home of main respiration centers

blood flows through the medulla to regulate the need to breath
urge to breathe cased by high CO2 Levels
low oxygen might stimulate breath, but only in an emergency

we sit @ 99% oxygen saturation all the time
low oxygen is abnormal

we don't need to do dramatic breathing to get big effects

"subtly nudge towards calm or activation"

Practice: Bhastrika
short blasts to create the space
afterwards, quiet, no need to breath

To reduce CO2 level, more CO2 out than is being produced.

When we hyperventilate, the CO2 is down

The light headiness is caused by the constriction o the blood vessels to the brain to prevent flow of blood?
Changing the CO2 changes the acidity, changes the nerves?

What is better? short bursts or long slow exhalation?
When CO2 level is down, there is less need to breath
When cells burn Oxygen to create energy, you produce CO2

Physiology of Relaxation
- every time we exhale, our heartbeat slows down (tilted towards the Parasympathetic)
- mental focus also calms the system

How to Create a State of Calm
Breathing with just the belly.  Isolated belly breath breaks link between chest breathing and stress

External intercostals lift the rips
Scalenes pull of 1st and 2nd Ribs
Diaphragm lifts ribs too
use fingers lightly touching to feel expansion of ribs

Isolated Chest Breathing makes us anxious because we recruit muscles associated with the fight or flight response.

Jalandhara Bandha takes scalenes out of picture.

Vagus Nerve
Herring Brower Reflex?

He suggested that it is not really clear if stimulating the PS calms everything down.

belly breathing
side ribs and belly breathing
belly, side ribs and upper ribs breathing

the main practice is to start to breath up in the area that stimulates the stress and stay relaxed.

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