The difference between the WW fighter pilots who could fly loads of missions and those who only managed a few

Thursday, May 30

 As of last weekend, we were required to wear all white during out Integral Yoga Hatha teacher training.  The reason for this is worthy of a blogpost of it's own one day, but I definitely did feel a little self conscious leaving the house!

Now if you have ever been to a Yoga or a Pilates class, you would have heard the teacher going on and on and on about breathing as you do each exercise. With particular focus on a long deep breath out.

And it wasn't until I did my own Pilates training that I began to appreciate the importance of breathing deeply and correctly, yes there is an incorrect way, not only during classes but in everyday life.

Recently in my Yoga teacher training, we have been exploring this business of 'the breath', pretty intently.

And this weekend, our teacher Padma, shared a story that has really stuck with me.

During the world war, I'm not sure which one, it was noted that some aeroplane fighter pilots could perform hundreds of missions and they were absolutely fine.  Whilst others only managed around ten flights, before they had some form of psychological breakdown.

These two groups were assessed intensively to see what physiological or psychological differences they had, that made one group be so much more suited to these flying missions.

After extensive tests, they were unable to establish any marked difference between them.

Until, yes you guessed it, they looked at the way in which these two different groups breathed.

The pilots who could do hundreds of missions, all had a longer out breath (exhalation) than their in breath (inhalation).  And they tended to pause at the end of their out breath.

The poor guys who could only manage an average of ten flights, had a longer in breath then their out breath, and paused at the end of their in breath.

Absolutely fascinating.

And then a lady this week said to me that her husband has just undergone investigations for his panic attacks, and has also been found to have a longer in breath than out breath.

And it fits with holding your breath when you are anxious or stressed, as most of us hold our breaths after we've taken a breath in.

Think about how you are breathing right now.

And is your stomach moving as you breathe? Or just your shoulders?

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