- Trains your bodily systems toward flexibility, rhythm, and balance
- Enhances emotional regulation
- Reduces the negative impact of anger, stress, anxiety, and depression
- Enhances your capacity to stay well and perform well under pressure
- Improves general health, well-being and performance
- Reduces symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Can improve quality of sleep
The Coherence Exercise helps develop meditative and reflective skills while significantly reducing stress. It also helps develop core values such as calmness and security, caring and appreciation, and strength and confidence, addressing each of these qualities individually. Its symbols and affirmations support the deepening of the particular experiences. This powerful breath meditation reduces the negative impact of stress and extreme emotions. It improves and protects physical and emotional health, well-being, and productivity, even under pressure and in crisis.
The Coherence Exercise combines elements of gratitude, guided breathing, focused relaxation, dynamic visualization, and brainwave entrainment. The latter gives access to fully alert states of extended consciousness and increases the effectiveness of subsequent exercises by allowing us to access our higher self and subconscious mind. Physiologically, the exercise balances our autonomic nervous system and endocrine (hormonal) function and strengthens our immune system.
Coherence Training (CT) is an audio-guided and biofeedback-based form of resonant frequency training. It combines paced breathing, dynamic visualization, and brainwave entrainment at gamma 40 Hz and alpha 10 Hz, which are dominant brain waves during flow and peak performance. Inaudible isochronic tones entrain the rhythm of the brain, while the breath pacer entrains the rhythm of the heart. As a result, the training aligns the nervous systems of the brain, heart, and gut.
CT trains to a physiological state that underlies sustainable peak performance, flow state and engagement, and ability to release, relax, and recover, even under pressure. This can lead to better management of stress and extreme emotions, improved and sustained emotional and physical health, and better performance.
CT facilitates and protects emotional and physical health and productivity even under pressure.
Diaphragmatic breathing at a pace of 5.5 breathing cycles per minute has been shown to align the rhythms of breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate variability. The result of this alignment is a resonance effect that enhances the amplitude of heart rate variability, a sign that the autonomic nervous system is flexible, adaptable, and balanced. This increase in heart rate variability (SDNN) and ANS balance point to physical, emotional, and mental health.
During this paced, slow, and deep breathing process, heart and brain enter a state of coherence, which leads to high amplitude synchronized electric activity of heart and brain, shown in the electrocardiogram (ECG) as electric activity of heart rate variability peaking in the range of 0.1 Hz. In the electroencephalogram (EEG), it’s shown in increased brain activity in the range of Alpha 10 Hz. Mid-alpha-brainwave activity is a sign of focused relaxation, when the focus turns from sensory perceptions toward inner experiences in a relaxed but watchful manner. Similar activities of heart and brain also occur when experiencing positive emotions or during a state of flow or engagement.
The breathing exercise is greatly enhanced by using the dynamic visualization of rhythmically alternating and breath-synchronized attention and focus on body and surroundings (flow of sunlight), while experiencing a positive feeling such as gratitude, appreciation, or love. Gratitude, for example, has been shown to promote profound mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.
Coherence breathing can help you better manage stress and reduce extreme emotions such as tension, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger. It has also been shown to improve emotional and physical health and productivity and build personal and interpersonal resilience.
This exercise activates and energizes the collaboration between heart, brain, and gut nervous systems, and stirs the rest of the body through resonance and coherence. As a result, you may be able to change old neural pathways in your brain and build new ones, positively transforming the way you think, feel, and act.
Practicing this exercise daily over six weeks may make you feel calmer, more energized, and more optimistic over time, and can help you stay well and perform better under stress. Your focus, concentration, and working memory may improve, along with your personal and professional relationships. You may find that you recover faster from strain. And the quality and duration of your sleep may improve, too.
Practicing the paced breathing once or twice daily for 15 minutes over six weeks leads to the best results. Reasonable results can also be achieved with shorter training sessions.
Over time, your body will learn to create this state of balance and alignment, and you may be able to activate it at will—even in challenging situations. You’ll hear more about this when I introduce the Rescue Breath.
Performing Coherence Breathing for even a few seconds before a challenging task can help by reducing performance anxiety and fear of failure and creating a state of sustainable peak performance.
Coherence Breathing is not a relaxation exercise. It can calm and relax when you feel agitated or overexcited, and it can stimulate and activate when you feel low in mood, withdrawn or lack energy. But these effects are experienced as a “bottom-up” cascade of changes, meaning you’ll experience them in the lower areas of the brain first, as a physiological response (i.e., decreased tension) before they travel “up” the brain, leading to mental changes (e.g., decreased tension or worry or improved concentration).
Because this follows the way the brain normally processes information, we often feel the effects more quickly and easily than with top-down strategies such as insight and-conscious introspection.
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