Continued – Training Hard? Breathe Easy.

May 8, 2012


Yoga-based techniques to help improve your athletic performance
By Yasemin Watkins for Coach Kaehler

What’s one way you can improve your athletic performance using Pranayama –yoga-based breathing techniques?
According to Ed Harold, co-owner of Comfort Zone Yoga Center for Whole Self Healing, focus on your diaphragm – the dome-like muscle which separates your thoracic cavity from your abdomen and assists in your breathing.
“Learn to ‘thicken’ your diaphragm muscle,” says Harold. “The stronger the muscle, the greater your ability to lift and expand your chest cage.”
Harold, otherwise known as the “athletic yogi,” has been a lifetime competitor in everything from football to water sports, but confesses that his “greatest love of all is rowing.”
After sustaining a series of low-back and knee-related injuries, Harold turned to yoga for relief, recovery and eventually an entirely new approach to athletic training.
Through his studies to become a certified yoga instructor, Harold learned various yoga-based breathing techniques, Pranayama, and started integrating them into his athletic programs.

Here are some of Harold’s suggestions for integrating yogic-based breathing techniques into your own training programs:
Breathe through your nose at least 50% of your workout
Nasal breathing supports good posture in low back.
“Warming up using nasal breathing also activates the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system which sets your body into a fat burning zone rather using vital sugar reserves,” says Harold.
Mouth breathing, on the other hand, “doesn’t move the diaphragm as well and only activates the sympathetic branch hormones which athletes should reserve for racing and intense pieces.”

Harold recommends breathing through your nose, moving your diaphragm up and down at least 50% of your workout.
“Your first awareness of breathing using this approach is an ‘ocean’ sound in
your trachea, not your nasal channels,” offers Harold. “To do this, slightly constrict the upper trachea (epiglottis muscles in your throat). This will help control the length, depth, pace of inspiration and expiration.”

Use a ‘four-part breath’
Working with a four part breath: inhale, hold breath in, exhale, and hold your breath out.
“This technique warms-up your body quickly without wearing out joint tissues and destroying muscle mass,” says Harold. “Use mental or stroke counting to hold the left cortex present and in moment. Hold your breath in to increase the energizing effects of oxygen deeper into the nervous system. Then hold your breath out to remove stale air out of alveoli sac’s in your lungs.”

Observe the length of your inhales and exhales

Learn to manage your heart rates by noticing the length of your exhales and inhales.

“When your exhale shortens to less than your inhale, you are stressing your body and beginning to leave your ‘comfort zone,” says Harold.

Relax facial muscles

Relax low jaw, cheek bones, relax muscles around the eyes and don’t move
crown of head

For more information on these and other yogic-based techniques and programs Harold teaches, visit

(We don’t believe that there is any one magic bullet to success – and that hard work, excellent training plans and great coaching lead to success and we try and add value and serving you in your quest for success. Our programs are intended to help you get to the next level and the information above can help you better understand the many facets that should be addressed. As stipulated by law, we cannot and do not make any guarantees about your ability to get results using  our ideas, information, tools or strategies , or from third-party information we share with you. We don’t know you and, besides, your results in life are up to you. Agreed? We just want to help by giving great content, direction and strategies that move you forward, faster. Nothing on this page or any of our websites is a promise or guarantee of future training success. “These above techniques / approaches may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Coach Kaehler.” )

Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • PDF
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay


Got something to say?