You can get revitalized, have mental clarity, and feel better in minutes with Cardiac Coherence! Are you interested?
Anxious, agitated, having trouble controlling your emotions, or sleeping? Do you wish to increase your focus and memory?
What if you could simply breathe your way out of all of this?
No, it’s not a hollow promise; it’s supported by both ancient yogic tradition and cutting-edge science. This is the fundamental premise of pranayama.
Today I’d want to introduce you to fairly unique pranayama: cardiac coherence, one of the original pranayamas.
And, as you can see, it is neither difficult nor time-consuming to set up for extremely quick results.
Scientific Advantages of Cardiac Coherence
It is a “contemporary” breathing technique in the sense that its benefits have been scientifically examined, but in yoga, any breathing technique can be considered pranayama, which is why I include it in this chapter.
Indeed, the classic pranayamas are more nuanced to perform and already necessitate good lung capacity and nervous system management.
However, due to its great benefits in stress management, cardiac coherence is one of the first pranayamas I recommend when beginning yoga or simply wanting to better your stress, emotion, and anxiety management.
Brain Structure as a Tool for Understanding Coherence
To grasp the principle of cardiac coherence, consider the anatomy of the brain (quite fast, because the subject is highly difficult!).
Paul D. MacLean was the first to propose a hierarchical view of the brain based on species evolution theory in the 1950s.
The human brain is made up of three major structures that have evolved over time:
- The reptilian brain: this is the primordial brain, the midbrain, which allows stereotyped actions programmed by ancestral learning and dominates instinctive processes.
- The limbic or mammalian brain: this is the emotional brain.
- The neocortex, or new brain, is the seat of intelligence, reasoning, and intuition.
Heart Coherence and Pranayama: Brain Structure
This schematic model of the triune brain is significant because it allowed Henri Laborit to better comprehend the role of stress in disordered behavior.
Indeed, the limbic brain is the seat of emotions, and the autonomic nervous system connects it directly to the heart.
Let us recall this premise to comprehend what follows.
Variability in the heart
Cardiac variability is the difference in time between two heartbeats over a particular timeframe. It varies according to age, gender, position, breathing, and exercise.
The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are two types of nervous systems.
The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are the two branches of the nervous system. These two branches will affect, modify the heart rate in an adversarial manner, similar to a dynamic balance:
- The parasympathetic nervous system acts as a cardiac brake, putting the body to rest and promoting recovery by conserving energy.
- The sympathetic nervous system acts as a cardiac accelerator, alerting the organism and preparing it for action.
The heart is constantly accelerating and decelerating due to the work of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system. As a result, the heart rate is never stable.
In an adult, it is usually approximately 70 beats per minute, however, keep in mind that this is only an average. Indeed, this frequency is continually changing, and the interval between two beats varies as well: this is referred to as instantaneous heart rate variability.
Why should cardiac variability be addressed?
Many recent scientific investigations have observed and proven a drop in heart rate variability in states of stress and anxiety, but also panic, phobias, depression, and other states that cause psychological difficulties.
As a result, heart rate variability is a good predictor of health.
As a result of a lack of flexibility and a rigid structure, individuals are vulnerable to somatic and psychological illnesses.
Because research demonstrates that perceptions, like reactions, affect variability, it is possible to act on the entire physiology and save energy for the organization by learning to alter it to make it coherent.
Read More: 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh
Cardiac coherence promotes better balance.
Cardiac coherence will increase the autonomic nervous system’s adaptability in the face of demands and stress, provide greater flexibility in fighting somatic and psychological disorders, and thus allow the body to maintain a better cardio-respiratory balance and cerebral equilibrium.
Emotions and emotions have an impact on heart rate variability:
- It becomes erratic and disorganized during times of stress, anxiety disorders, despair, or panic.
- On the contrary, variability is more harmonious and cohesive at periods of well-being, calm, and emotional mastery. The alternating accelerations and decelerations of the heart become regular and synchronized. This is a condition of cardiac coherence.
How can cardiac coherence be improved?
We can decrease the effects of stress and emotions on heart rate variability by managing our breathing.
Close to meditation, cardiac coherence thus relates to a certain state of cardiac variability, which offers numerous health and well-being benefits.
Techniques for stress and emotion management are an excellent strategy to increase cardiac coherence to obtain a better physiological balance and lessen the negative effects of stress on health.
Several easy and efficient relaxing strategies will increase cardiac coherence:
- Yoga postures, which have been practiced for a long time, serve as a beginning point: a healthy body is a healthy mind!
- Muscle relaxation from muscle tension reduction also allows for a condition of broad physical and psychological calm, as in certain yoga postures.
- Techniques involving the modulation of consciousness, such as hypnosis or sophrology, as well as those involving meditation or thought work, result in physiological changes that characterize a state of equilibrium in the body.
- Breathing is referred to as “cardiac coherence.”
It is a highly effective approach, as evidenced by numerous scientific research.
Cardiac Coherence Biofeedback: This is a type of computer-assisted cardiac coherence practice. This learning method produces excellent outcomes since the computer tool directs and assists in becoming aware of the impact of respiratory control on cardiac coherence.
The ultimate goal is to be able to return to a condition of cardiac coherence in everyday situations, including without the assistance of software.
However, even without software verification, one can simply enter cardiac coherence and instantly notice the benefits.
Cardiac Coherence Technique (CCT)
I’ll go over the fundamentals here, but for a more in-depth look at all of these techniques, I propose the Intensive Initial Yoga Training or the Hypno-meditation ®, pranayama, and bioenergy training.
1. Pay attention to the chest, which is rather high to the left and contains the heart.
2. Pay attention to your breathing in this location. Take the time to notice how you feel as you inhale and then exhale effortlessly. Look for the best possible breathing comfort.
3. Recognize the pleasure of breathing, the comfort you can acquire simply by inhaling and exhaling. Then, inspire a good emotion or recall a favorite location, an animal, nature… whatever comes to mind as a particularly relaxing and harmonious time.
Enter cardiac coherence.
To achieve cardiac coherence, breathe 6 times (6 cycles of inspiration/expiration) each minute for 3 to 5 minutes.
When this resonance frequency of 6 respiratory cycles per minute is reached, cardiac coherence reaches its peak. Breathing sessions at 6 complete cycles per minute, or 6 inspirations – expirations each minute, equates to inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds 6 times.
- Inhale deeply through your nose for 5 seconds, then exhale deeply through your mouth (i.e. allowing the belly to expand)
- Breathe deeply for 5 seconds via your mouth, always with your stomach.
Duration: The best approach to fully benefit from the effects of cardiorespiratory coherence is to exercise for 5 minutes three times a day because, regardless of the long-term effects, the extremely short-term physiological impacts continue 5/6 hours after 5 minutes of practice. However, only 1 to 2 minutes will create significant results, and 3 or 4 breathing cycles will produce noticeable effects.
With practice, this approach becomes part of daily life and, in most cases, unconscious, although the benefits are the same, if not superior, to conscious techniques.
There are several applications that you may download on your smartphone to ensure that you breathe in the correct rhythm, two of them are listed below:
- Respirelax is a free app with configurable rhythm, duration, and sound.
- My Cardiac Coherence is a free, simple-to-use wave sound.
Read More: Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh
Advantages of Cardiac Coherence
This simple practice, performed throughout the day, teaches us how to handle “crises of calm,” which are very helpful to our health, but not only.
It promotes attentiveness and attention; it enables us to make better use of our intellectual capacities (concentration, memorization, logical thinking) and to better detect our sentiments (what we enjoy and dislike).
Finally, calm increases performance in all areas: job, sports, and interpersonal connections.
In practice, it is interesting to complete as many exercises as possible throughout the day, in everyday settings, without necessarily setting up a certain time for it.
Each workout takes only a few minutes and integrates seamlessly into daily routines.
After a few days, you will notice that this practice has become a part of your life, and after seeing all of the benefits, you will not want to do without it!