Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching
Newsletter 18 - Breathe
the N in NeuroLanguage Coaching®
“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.”
― Gregory Maguire, A lion among men
We breathe 17,000 to 24,000 times a day.
That's it. That’s all the reason I needed to start a 3-part newsletter series on the subject. I mean, something we do that often is bound to have huge repercussions in all aspects of our body, mind, life... language learning, and speaking.
To understand the significance of breathing, let's start with a simplified view of the nervous system:
In words (some learn better with images, others need to read):
The Central Nervous System (CNS) includes the brain and spine, while the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) covers everything else. The PNS comprises the Somatic Nervous System (voluntary movement) and the Autonomic Nervous System (involuntary control of vital processes).
The Autonomic Nervous System branches into the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), responsible for the "fight or flight" response, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which promotes "rest and digest." When stress triggers the SNS, the body prepares for challenges, releasing adrenaline and increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Although we do sometimes need to be alert, maybe even very alert, being in such a state during long periods of time - which is what’s happening to many of us - is not viable.
This is where deep breathing comes in, activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System - reducing stress, and making you feel more relaxed.
OK now that you have the overview, focus on the next part - this is your body we're talking about :-)
What's truly remarkable is that while your body naturally takes care of breathing, how you breathe depends on you.
Breathing should be in harmony with your body, expanding during inhalation without reliance on your neck and shoulders. Children effortlessly embrace this natural rhythm, expanding and contracting just like all creatures. However, as adults, we often forget how to breathe "naturally," and fall into shallow breathing habits. In fact, most of us spend a large part of our day shallow breathing.
Don’t believe me? Breathe deeply, right now. Sigh, even. See how different you feel from a second ago? Feel how your neck and shoulders feel more relaxed? ;-)
Shallow breathing can restrict oxygen intake, adversely impacting focus and overall well-being. Deep breathing, on the other hand, increases pressure in the air sacs of the lungs, making oxygen absorption more efficient. And I don’t have to tell you that we need O2 to live.
At the heart of these processes lies the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve constantly monitors and regulates heart rate, respiration, and other physiological parameters, providing a link between the central nervous system and the body. The vagus nerve’s activity is modulated by respiration, being suppressed during inhalation and facilitated during exhalation and slow breathing cycles. When you exhale slowly and deeply, it engages the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This action increases pressure in the chest and abdominal cavities, stimulating the vagus nerve, which, in turn, sends signals to the heart, instructing it to beat more slowly.
OK, enough information for one newsletter. The brain learns better in small digestible bites. Next week we'll get into the role breathing holds in your language learning and speaking journey.
In the meantime, why don’t you observe yourself during the day, and when you realize you’re not breathing quite as you should, try to inhale for 4, exhale for 4 - repeat.
If you're curious about my sources or want to know more about breathing, you should click here
And if you want to go back on my other newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletters webpage
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Neurolanguage Coaching® is an amazing method that will help you learn a language more efficiently than you've ever experienced before. It brings together findings about how the brain learns bests and integrates these into a coaching process that will put you in charge of YOUR learning journey. As a Coach, I'm the GPS to your driving. If you want to try it but are not ready to commit, I have a 2H Discovery Offer that might be just what you're looking for. Or we can just have a casual chat about it, just reply to this email.
Good to know
The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF
La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching