Did you know that the importance of maintaining good health is directly related to the quality of your breathing?
“Breathing is one of the simplest things in the world. We breathe in, we breathe out. When we breathe with real freedom, we neither grasp for nor hold on to the breath… The process of breathing is the most accurate metaphor we have for the way that we personally approach life, how we live our lives and how we react to the inevitable changes that life brings us.” Nicole Farhi | The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work
Just because breathing is automatic and we do it on average 20,000 times a day, doesn’t mean to say we’re doing it properly! The effects of inhalation and exhalation extend far beyond the physical exchange of air in and out of the body, effecting the workings of the heart and lungs as well as the subtle molecular processes through which the body’s energy production is maintained. The brain alone with its constant neural activity and subsequent high metabolic rate, requires approximately 25% of all oxygen inhaled to properly code and process sensory information and prevent tissue damage. A dysfunctional breathing habit, if left unchecked, can cause your skin to suffer, your muscles to tire easily during a workout and leave you feeling constantly tired and lethargic.
The good news is, by paying attention to your breath and practicing quality breathing, over time, you can re-train your automatic responses and have a direct influence on your body’s health, not only increasing the amount of oxygen to your brain but supplying your whole body with the right amount of oxygen and replenishing your vital organs with essential nutrients. The result? A more relaxed, more focused and even more creative you.
The way we were designed to breathe is done in such a way that it is physiologically optimal for your body. Rather than breathing through the mouth, you should be breathing through your nose. As the principal breathing organ of the human body, the nose contains a variety of built-in defense mechanisms (including the olfactory organ which provides us with our sense of smell enabling us to detect any poisonous gases around that may injure our health) designed to prevent impurities and excessively cold air from entering the body which might otherwise cause us harm.
Conscious Breathing Technique
The abdominal or ‘belly’ breath is the most efficient way to achieve optimal health. The diaphragm, (breathing muscle) should rise and fall with each breath, producing a belly movement. This movement massages the stomach and vital organs of digestion, promoting good elimination, removal of toxins from the body.
Sit in a comfortable position with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
Place both hands lightly on your belly.
Exhale ALL the air out of your lungs through your nose.
Now inhale (through the nose) slow and strong right down into your belly, pushing your hands softly outward.
Exhale all of the air, again.
Inhale (through the nose) thoroughly.
Keep moving your hands with your breath, up and down, up and down.
Now you’re breathing efficiently.
Repeat for up to ten minutes a day. We’d be very interested to know if you can see/feel a difference, so feel free to post your findings.