Breathing Goes A Long Way
Breathing is the single important physiological process for all living things. It has sustained life on this planet for 3.5 billion years, paving the road for the evolution of all species. From single-cell organisms to humans, all must take oxygen in and expel CO2 out.
Yet, today, it seems most of us are doing it wrong. Without even being aware, our bodies are departing from the natural way of breathing and adopting to how our body is being shaped by external and internal conditions.
People lapse into interrupted flows of breathing. The breaths that we take are too shallow or too deep. We may be doing it hurriedly or intermittently. In other words, our breathing has gotten out of sync with the rest of the body, and this is a huge cause for concern.
Time To Wake Up And Breathe In The Day
Health experts warn that prolonged periods of improper breathing can result in stress, fatigue, poor memory, muscle pain, headache, poor sleep and other conditions. When all of this is added together, we are looking at a negative process that impairs our well-being with every single breath.
So, how did we get here? It is a combination of the sedentary way of life and the fast-paced rhythm dictated by the technological era. And is not our fault.
On a daily basis we are bombarded with information that trigger emotional responses, often unwittingly and unintentionally.
Loud and sudden noises, lights and images flashing on the screen, the blue light, being stuck in traffic and crossing ways with the sheer number of people on the street.
All of this combines into a sea of stimuli that are causing our muscles to twitch, our eyes to squint, our breath to stop short or being kept in the lungs much longer.
Add on top the issue of work-life imbalance. Whether we spend sitting or standing a good part of the day, the body’s anatomy often lapses into unnatural postures that alter the natural flow of air in and out of the lungs.
Change Comes With Each Proper Breath
So what can we do? We can either learn how to breathe like a yogi or breathe like a baby. Both have bellies that fill with air with each breath. Both know how to draw each breath through the nose and down to the diaphragm in a way that is effortless and full. This is easy to learn and improve your well-being, free of cost.
In my 16 years of experience as a bodyworker and sports therapist I have started each training session with guided steps that inspire proper breathing. These steps take the practitioner on a journey of deep conscious breathwork, through the diaphragm, and into the peace and calm that relaxes the muscles, the face and the brain.
Some of the Benefits of Conscious Breathing
- Re-Energize and Shine
There is a crucial correlation between proper, conscious breathing and energy levels. Short and heavy breathing stresses the cells, causing them not to deliver the necessary oxygen to the organs.
When you learn deep, controlled diaphragmatic breathwork you are helping your lungs absorb and distribute all the oxygen the body needs1 . Added benefits are lower pulse and steady heart, which translates to de-stressing the entire organism.
- Decrease Stress and Improve Digestion
There is a correlation between stress and indigestion2 . By breathing improperly (short breaths) the nervous system is ‘tricked’ into “fight or flight” mode. This causes the organism to channel more blood in the muscles and away from the gut and intestines, which in turn causes poor digestion.
By performing between three and five deep breaths before your meals you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, so that the stomach receives information that it can perform its function uninterrupted3 .
- Improved Awareness
Ancient yogic practices discovered the bond between berating and enlightenment. To be aware of one’s own breathing mean to be aware of the stillness of the mind.
The body is a fascinating machine! It is amazing that we can improve our well-being just by quieting down the mind.
Turning off the unnecessary noise by practising conscious breathwork can be achieved easily by knowing the right steps.
My next article will explain the method of breathing fully into your diaphragm, so I invite you to use this resource and explore future breathing and health tips that you can implement in your every-day life.