The art of Breathing

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.”
~ Sanskrit proverb

The art of bething, deeply and often have the following benefits:

* Detoxifies and Releases Toxins - Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly eliminating toxins from your body. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

* Releases Tension - Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs. Long deep breathing reverses this process, allowing your body (and mind) to become more expansive.

* Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity - Increasing the oxygen to the brain reduces excessive anxiety levels. Pay attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places in your body that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings you clarity and insights.

* Helps to Relieve Emotional Problems - Long deep breathing helps to clear uneasy feelings out of your body. Energy and past emotional scarring gets trapped in our bodies. Long deep breathing is one method to help heal and release these energy blockages.

* Helps to Relieve Pain - Studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

* Massages Your Organs - The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen expands. By this action you massage vital organs and, in turn, improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

* Increases Muscle - Breathing is the oxygenation process for all of the cells in your body. An increase supply of oxygen increases your body’s ability to build muscle.

* Strengthens the Immune System - Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. When the level of oxygen increases, it improves your body’s ability to metabolize nutrients and vitamins, strengthening the nervous system.

* Strengthens the Nervous System - When the brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygen, they are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

* Strengthen the Lungs - As you breathe deeply, the lungs become more healthy and powerful, a good preventative measure against respiratory problems. Also exercises the intercostal muscles which you become aware of when coughing.

* Makes the Heart Stronger - Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. First, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs. Strong lungs bring more oxygen to the blood. This blood goes to the heart where it sent out to the other tissues. With healthy blood, the heart doesn’t need to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Second, deep breathing leads to an increase in circulation, meaning the heart doesn’t need to work as hard to distribute the blood.

* Assists in Weight Control - If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.

* Boosts Energy Levels and Improves Stamina - Increased oxygen boosts your energy levels and increases your stamina.

* Improves Cellular Regeneration - Increased oxygen improves cell regeneration.

* Elevates Moods - Long deep breathing increases pleasure-inducing neuro-chemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain.

4-7-8 Breathing Technique

An effective breathing technique taught as part of a relaxation method, is to breathe in for the count of 4, hold that breath for the count of 7, and release the air slowly from the lungs to the count of 8.

It is always best to breath into the thoracic area so as to exercise the intercostals muscles (those that lie in between the ribs).

Furthermore, it is better to breathe in through the nose, where the air can be filtered and warmed before entering the lungs, and to breathe out through the mouth to allow the vacuum build up in the lungs, to release in a slow, controlled manner.

This form of breathing is very meditative due to the concentration required to apply it affectively.

Breathing deeply in nature, where the air is, generally, cleaner and purer, is highly recommended. Doing a walk in nature provides the opportunity to breathe deeply due to exertion, move the body and find some peace of mind. Thus a multi-action beneficial activity.