Do hold in your breath when:
A) You are nervous, anxious, or worried
B) You lift heavy weights
C) You are distracted, thinking about whatever you just did that you’re not entirely satisfied with (will you ever be?)
D) You’re making a big play or leap (literally or figuratively)
E) Searching for shipwrecked treasure underwater
There is certainly a time and place to hold in our breath (E). Yet holding in our breath for A & B can be a sign of utter distraction, thus not giving us a chance to be present to the moment. If we hold in our breath during B, we are inefficiently bracing our core, which is used to stabilize our spine. This can lead to serious injury in the future.
Remember: You are always in control of your breath.
Sure, that seems simple enough, but give yourself regular checks. You might notice during certain situations your breathing becomes staggered and inconsistent. From a mental standpoint, when you notice that you’re nervous, distracted, anxious, worried…breathe. From a physical standpoint, allow yourself to inhale and exhale regularly when training, lifting weights, or running from whirling dervishes.
By bringing awareness to our breath on a regular basis, this practice will naturally work its way into those big plays and leaps (D)…when we need it most.