EXPLORATION GUIDE

A GUIDE FOR COACHES

How to Use This Information 

This information explains how and when to use the phase learning content found on the Breathe Your Truth website. Each phase includes stuff to read and understand, called LEARNING SPRINTS and things to do, called ACTIVITIES.   Learning sprints and activities are further clarified by having core work and supportive work. Core work will be represented here. Additional supportive work can be found on the respective BYT Phase learning pages.

Here’s what you’ll find:

Key Data Points to Determine the Phase

Phase 1 Learning Guide

Phase 2 Learning Guide

Phase 3 Learning Guide

Scripting Conversations

Key Data Points to Determine the Phase

 

  1. Nijmegen. Research indicates scores greater than 19 are correlate with breathing dysfunction. BYT advocates Phase 1 for scores greater than 23; Phase 2 for scores 14 – 22; and phase three for scores less than 13.
  2. Nasal Breathing Tolerance: Phase 1 for Rest; Phase 2 for Light & Moderate activity; Phases 3 for Heavy activity.
  3. Lower Rib Movement: Placing the hands on the lower ribs in the back, you should feel the lower ribs expand with a breath in. Phase 1 if you can’t feel anything; Phase 2 if you can feel movement, but it’s reported to fee strange (less than 2-inch expansion; Phases 3 if movement feels normal and is 2+ inches.  
  4. BOLT Score: Phase 1 for less than 20 seconds; Phase 2 for 20-40 seconds; Phase three for greater than 40 seconds.
  5. CO2TT: Phase 1 less than 30 seconds; Phase 2 for 30-60 seconds; Phase 3 greater than 60 seconds.
  6. Capno: Sitting CO2: Phase 1 less than 33 mmHg; Phase 2 33-36 mmHg; Phase 3 is greater than 36 mmHg
  7. Capno: Recovery from Over Breathing: Phase 1 in more than 2 minutes and sometimes with coaching; Phase 2 – 30 seconds to 2 minutes without coaching; Phase 3 less

 

Summary Table

Test Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
1. Nijmegen Greater than 23 14-22 Less than 13
2. Nasal Breathing Tolerance Rest only Mod activity Heavy activity
3. Lower Rib Movement Less than 1” 1-2” Greater than 2”
4. BOLT Score Less than 20 sec 20-30 sec Greater than 30 sec
5. CO2TT Less than 30 sec 30-60 sec Greater than 60 sec
6. Capno: Sitting CO2 Less than 33 mmHg 33-36 mmHg Greater than 36 mmHg
7. Capno: Recovery from OB Greater than 2 min 30 sec – 2 min Less than 30 sec

 

 

PHASE 1: The Foundation

 

Here we establish the basics of breath mechanics, breath chemistry. In this phase, the learner develops the skills for healthy breathing in rest, relaxation, and sitting meditation.

 

PHASE ONE CRITERIA

  • A Nijmegen score greater than 19
  • Primary upper chest breathing pattern or other faulty breathing pattern
  • Mouth breathing pattern at night and during the day
  • Minimal lower rib movement with a breath in
  • A BOLT score < 20 seconds
  • CO2TT score < 30 seconds
  • Less than 35 mmHg ETCO2 during sitting breathing
  • Longer than 2 min recovery from guided over-breathing
  • May have a decreased arm swing on the right with an elevated left lower rib cage

 

PHASE ONE GOALS

 

Biomechanical

  • Improve the mechanics of breathing by dropping the breath and achieving posterior lateral rib expansion
  • Nose breathing during sleep and the wakeful day
  • Normalized gait by improving right lower rib depression and right arm swing (if needed)

Biochemical

  • Right size the breath in sitting as measured with capnography (greater than, or equal to 35 mmHg)
  • Able to improve ETCO2 at will
  • Bolt score > 20

Psycho-physiological

  • Basic understanding of
    • The progression of this type of treatment program (3 possible stages)
    • Breath physiology (CO2, Bicarbonates, and nitric oxide)
    • Good breathing posture
    • How the breath reflects how we feel, and how we breathe can determine how we feel
  • Appreciation for the concept that while we may manipulate the breath in this work, the ultimate relationship is one of allowing the breath
  • Significant drop in the Nijmegen score (> 3 points)
  • Independent with home program to improve thoracic motion, breath mechanics, and breath chemistry
  • Greater awareness of the body

 

 

PHASE ONE EXPLORING

 

Core Activities

  • Mechanics of a Good Breath (biomechanical)
  • Nose Breathing During Light Activity (biochemical)
  • Slow the Exhale (psychophysiological)

Core Learning Sprints

  • Less is More: The story of CO2
  • The BYT Program Overview
  • The Case for Nose Breathing

 

Please go to PHASE 1 CONTENT for all Activities and Learning Sprints

 

Integrative work

Manual Therapy may include mobilizations and/or manipulations to the cervical, thoracic, ribs, and scapulae; as well as soft tissue release for diaphragm, quadratus lumborum, intercostals, pectoralis major/minor, periscapular muscles, and abdominal muscles.

PHASE 2: The Foundation

 

In this phase, we take The Foundation practice into daily functional activities and fitness level exercise. For many, this will meet (complete) the goals of their breath work program.

 

PHASE TWO CRITERIA

  • Nijmegen Score usually <19
  • Able to nose breathe during sleep and most daily activities
  • 1-2 inches of lower rib movement with a breath in
  • BOLT score > 20 (usually less than 30)
  • CO2TT 30-45 seconds
  • Sitting baseline breathing CO2 > 35 mmHg
  • Recovery from guided over breathing in less than 2 min

 

PHASE TWO GOALS

Biomechanical

  • Able to consistently coordinate breathing with activity
    • Pairing the eccentric phase with an exhale and the concentric phase with inhale
    • Not directly pairing breathing with movement, but keeping the breath steady
  • The awareness and ability to steady the breath during daily transition moments (switching gears on tasks, getting out of the car and walking into a shop, etc.)
  • Begin entry-level diaphragm strengthening practices
  • Improve ease of maintaining good posture and alignment during sitting and movement (decreased EMG activity if measured)

Biochemical

  • Able to improve CO2 at will in sitting
  • Able to regulate during fast and slow breathing (4 – 20 bpm)
  • Able to recover from guided over breathing in 30 seconds

Psycho-physiological

  • Significant (3 point) drop in Nijmegen score
  • Able to notice triggers to dysfunctional breathing
  • Growing sense of ease around breathing
  • Greater ability to handle stressful situations

 

PHASE TWO EXPLORING

Core Activities

  • Lateral Rib Expansion with Walking (biomechanical)
  • Walking with Paced Breathing (biochemical)
  • Mini Breath Holds (psychophysiological)

Learning Sprints

  • Exercise and the Breath
  • Four Pillars of Health
  • The Power of Sleep

 

Please go to PHASE 2 CONTENT for all Activities and Learning Sprints

 

PHASE 3: PERFORMACE

3

It is assumed that Phase 3 will be reserved for those who meet the criteria for Phase 3 AND, have an interest in leveraging breath work to improve performance, deepen meditative practices, or boost immune system function. This phase marks a dramatic shift from the hallmark characteristic of Phase 1 and 2. In Phase 3, excellent breathing is leveraged to further decrease the central nervous system respiratory chemical receptor sensitivity to CO2, physically strengthen the diaphragm, and reach deeper meditative states through contrasting hyperventilation. It could be said that this phase creates a temporary antagonistic relationship with the breath. Remember that this is counter to Phase 1 and 2 where we seek to create an affectionate relationship with the breath. Practitioners will be well served to repeatedly explain this to breath explorers. Phase 1 is the most profound place to return (often). Phase 3 should be viewed as boldly playing if you will, and not as base breathing practices, or as the most important phase for the health of an individual.

 

 

PHASE THREE CRITERIA

  • Nijmegen < 13
  • Able to stay in nose breathing during heavy activity
  • 2+ inches of lower rib excursion with a breath in
  • BOLT or Controlled Pause score > 30
  • CO2TT > 45 seconds
  • Sitting baseline CO2 >35 mmHg
  • Able to recover from guided over breathing in 30 seconds
  • Interested in this work for the sake of improving performance (athletic or otherwise) and deeper personal discovery

 

PHASE THREE GOALS

Biomechanical

  • Able to maintain nose breathing during most heavy physical activity

     

    Biochemical

    • Improve nitric oxide production
    • Able to tolerate higher levels of CO2 without an increased respiratory response
    • Immediate elevation of ETCO2 at the start of intense activity
    • Able to regulate ETCO2 during talking
    • Able to recover from guided over breathing in 30 seconds
    • BOLT Score > 30
    • CO2TT > 60 seconds

     

    Psycho-physiological

    • Improve heart rate variability
    • Significant (3 point) drop in Nijmegen score
    • Able to notice triggers to dysfunctional breathing
    • Growing sense of ease around breathing
    • Greater ability to handle stressful situations
    • Higher level understanding of witnessing the breath during most of activity, especially as we move more into manipulating the breath during physical activity
    • Deepened meditation practice

     

    PHASE THREE EXPLORING

    Core Activities

    • BYT Diaphragm Training (biomechanical)
    • BYT Intermittent Hypoxia Training (biochemical)
    • BYT Fusion Meditation (psychophysiological)
    • BYT Energy Center Meditation (gateway back to Phase 1)

    Core Learning Sprints

    • The Landscape of Breath Work

     

    Please go to PHASE 3 CONTENT for all Activities and Learning Sprints

    Scripting Conversations: Key Concepts

     

    “How we go about this work”

    Provide the Program Overview Learning Sprint

    Speak to the three key aspects of breathing

    • Biochemical: Address the chemical, or physiological nature of breathing by monitoring carbon dioxide with the CapnoTrainer®. Consider the relationship among O2, CO2, and NO.
    • Biomechanical: Address nose breathing, chest versus diaphragm breathing. This is also the part in which we address the mechanical nature of breathing, making sure the rib cage and spine move well.
    • Psychophysiological: Appreciate the importance of how we think and our response to the environment around us. We collaborate to provide resources that might feel like a fit. The Nijmegen is a tool that helps us with this part.

    Summarize where they land in relation to these three phases. Based on the findings, prioritize our first steps and ask how this fits for them.

     

    “Why the CapnoTrainer® and why we look at CO2″

    CO2 drives breathing, not oxygen levels

    CO2 determines the pH of blood – which determines if oxygen is made available to the cells

    Most people are chronically over breathing, and that makes getting access to O2 difficult for the body

    Explain how monitoring CO2 levels (show the capnograph screen) helps determine the best exercises – those that are working for them right now

    Explain how pH is determined by kidney function divided by CO2, or breathing behavior

    We use the CapnoTrainer® to help you get off the ground, to better understand your breathing Eventually, we fly solo and trust that you will get good at knowing your body

     

    “How this might help”

    Improving the way you breathe will improve the way you feel, think, and move

    The quality and efficiency of our breathing effects all other systems of our body

    We appreciate that you will see improvements – time will tell us to what extent (this is important work, but it is not a magic bullet)

    Consider allowing the explorer to fill in the blanks of what might happen if the following systems start getting better access to O2 as a result of better breathing:

    • Brain
    • Heart
    • Digestive system
    • Limbic (emotional) center
    • Muscles, tendons, nerves

     

    “How we explore…”

    I will be your coach, and through your daily practice you will discover your best breath

    We will give you practices that start to knock on the door, nudge, or give your body permission to return to the way it’s actually programed to breathe… that way your body actually wants to breathe. This is all about allowing the body to breathe well.

    None of the breathing practices we give you will be “the right way to breathe” – the right way to breathe will come from within. It may seem very similar to what we have guided you to try, but it will feel different.

    It is important that you step toward your practice with a sense of play and peaceful resting in “only what I need.”

    A sense of patience, levity, lightness, and curiosity will help this work

    Once the ball gets rolling down the hill, momentum helps improvement