Fitness trend: Learn the 'Art of Breath'

Fitness trend: Learn the 'Art of Breath'
Laurent Andre practices breathing techniques to reduce stress (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Move over mindfulness and meditation - a new way to control stress, anxiety and the demands of everyday life is taking over, and it's something you can do anytime, anywhere.

Life for mortgage underwriter Laurent Andre is intense.

"A stressful situation at work could trigger a panic attack in me," he says.

Which is why he started subscribing to a new trend in the workplace: just breathe.

"I can basically do like 10 cycles of this breathing pattern and pretty much feel completely different," said Andre.

He's practicing breath work, something he takes classes to master.

Rob Wilson teaches 'The Art of Breath' in clinics around the country. He's based in Virginia Beach and says not only is it a way to fill our lungs in a controlled manner, but it's the next frontier in wellness - offering a variety of potential uses and benefits.

"It can be anything from enhancing sports performance, improving your conditioning for a specific sport or for your fitness, all the way to actually helping yourself with problems like anxiety or respiratory problems," said Rob Wilson with Power Speed Endurance.

Wilson acknowledges that, yes, we all know how to breathe, however, "those postures and positions that we adopt slowly start to limit our capacity to fully expand our lungs and then, therefore, can limit our ability to process oxygen."

Once you've got it down, continuing the practice costs nothing and takes very little time.  Yet, proponents say it can make a world of difference.

Andre says it's brought a breath of fresh air to tough days on the job.

"It's a lot easier for me to be relaxed."

Breath work is also being incorporated into meditation and yoga classes around the country, and there are even apps you can download to help you do it on your own.

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