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How To Raise HRV With Breathwork

I have been using an Oura ring to track HRV before, during, and after breathing meditations.

When you have a higher sleeping or resting HRV, you may be a healthy version of yourself. It may represent how quickly your heart rate can adapt and change. I think of it as how soon you can get into a "ready state." I've noticed the dip in HRV if I get a lack of proper sleep or after too much alcohol.


Heart Rate Variability is a relatively new health marker. It is the variation in time between each heartbeat. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789


Since we look at overnight measurements and long term changes as a sign of health, overtraining, or stress, it became apparent that short term data could be useful for creating particular mental states.


I recorded HRV for resting periods before and after 10-minute breathing mediations. I also recorded throughout the breathwork using this space-age measurement device.

I took these measurements right after waking up, before coffee, food, or exercise typically around 6:30 AM.

I would sit calmly for 5 minutes, do breathwork/meditation for 10 minutes then sit comfortably for another 5.


Here is the breathwork that gave me the most exciting results. Be sure to use appropriate safety precautions if you try this particularly if you are new to breathwork.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uArUyrIA6s



I did some variation on areas of focus compared to this video. In the video, I guide you through both nose/belly and chest/mouth breathwork. I suggest using more intense chest/mouth breaths to push yourself into a higher sympathetic state. Then slowing down to a calmer nose/belly breath before breath holds in order to practice changing to a parasympathetic state.


In these two sets of data below, I intentionally focused primarily on only either the nose/belly or chest/mouth breath.


I got predictable results. Here are some of the examples.

Nose/Belly Chart 1
Nose/Belly Chart 2

During this next data set, I switched to more focus on chest/mouth breathing.

Chest/Mouth Chart 1
Chest/Mouth Chart 2

The data seemed to indicate the I could bring my HRV higher during the breathwork while focusing on nose/belly breaths. It makes sense because breathing that way feels great and helps with focus. Any breathing also in general directly affects HRV and the nervous system. The part I found most interesting was during the resting periods after the breathwork. The mouth/chest focus data revealed a higher resting HRV for at least 5 minutes. This also made sense because we feel particularly amazing after intense breathing sessions.


It seems that using any preemptive breathwork; we create state changes that better prepare us for what lies ahead.


Let me know what happens to you after breathwork.

Miles

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