Breathing. We all do it. Some of us even understand how it works. Breathing is an involuntary function however, so the vast majority of us do not breathe intentionally, neither do we understand why the way we breathe is important to our health.
The reality is, breathing heals on many levels, and understanding how it performs this function is good for our mental and physical well-being. Our breath constantly converts our life-sustaining energy, taking in oxygen, invigorating red blood cells and expelling carbon dioxide, which is a metabolic waste product. By breathing deeply, you allow the diaphragm to drop downward, the rib cage to expand and create more space for the lungs to inflate.
Did you know that almost 70% of our toxins are released from our body through our breath. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste product of your body’s metabolism. The benefits of breathing deeply help the systems in the body to process this more efficiently.
1. Breath Increases Energy
2. Breath Improves the Respiratory System
3. Breath Calms the Nervous System
4. Breath Strengthens the Lymphatic System
5. Breath Releases Muscle Tension
6. Breath Improves the Cardiovascular System
7. Breath Elevates the Digestive System
8. Breath Affects Our Mental State
9. Breath Keeps Us Looking Youthful
Good breathing techniques also benefits us by helping us feel more confident and willling to let go of old belief systems and negative thought patterns that no longer serve us. Releasing old stories and past dramas previously held on to on a subconscious level gives us new emotional depth. Before any of my healing sessions, I always start by having my client take several deep clearing and cleansing breaths. By expanding our awareness inside, breathing has a spiritual effect too, creating inner peace, and leading us to higher states of consciousness.
Awkwardly enough, many of us are not using our whole respiratory system to breathe. In fact, many of us use just 33%, or 1/3 of our total capacity. I I have an infant and a toddler at home, and I’ve noticed they breathe in a more fluid and deep way than I do! The next time you look at a newborn baby as they sleep, take note of the way their whole body is breathing and how their breathing is connected. Their back, tummy and chest move together with no blockages. Toddlers usually breathe into their chests and their bellies. The breath moves consistently, like an ocean wave ebbing and flowing.
We all know that each of us is unique, but did you know we also have a unique breathing pattern? Our breathing pattern tells our story, where we are in the world, and how we perceive ourselves. Everyone’s breathing has a story that encompasses birth trauma, early childhood experiences, parental authority, school peers, and angst from our teenage years and early adulthood. I first encountered this working with my Chiropractor in NSA or Network Spinal Analysis entrainments. I’d start each appointment by taking several deep clearing breaths and then continue practicing deep breathing as he triggered local points (gateways) across my spine (activating my CNS to release stored trauma, stress and anxiety throughout my body).
One type of breathing that has enormous benefits for our health is Diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is a type of a breathing exercise that helps strengthen your diaphragm, an important muscle that helps you breathe. Also called belly or abdominal breathing, it has a number of benefits that affect your entire body. It’s the basis for almost all meditation or relaxation techniques; which can lower your stress levels, reduce your blood pressure, and regulate other important bodily processes, as well as help manage the symptoms of conditions as wide-ranging as irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety, and sleeplessness.
One of the biggest benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is reducing stress.
Being stressed keeps your immune system from working at full capacity. This can make you more susceptible to numerous conditions. And over time, long-term (chronic) stress, even from seemingly minor inconveniences like traffic, issues with loved ones, or other daily concerns can cause you to develop anxiety or depression. Some deep breathing exercises can help you reduce these effects of stress. By mastering the art of deep breathing, increased oxygen floods into the body, eventually helping the heart pace to slow down to create feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Practice: Diaphragmatic Breathing
The most basic type of diaphragmatic breathing is done by inhaling through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.
Sit in a comfortable position or lie flat on the floor, your bed, or another comfortable, flat surface.
Relax your shoulders.
Put a hand on your chest and a hand on your stomach.
Breathe in through your nose for about two seconds. You should experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still.
Purse your lips (as if you’re about to drink through a straw), press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about two seconds.
Repeat these steps several times for best results.
In summary, breathing detoxifies, releases toxins and strengthens the immune system. Deep breathing reduces stress and supports our major organs-especially our cardiovascular system and in general leaves us looking and feeling youthful, focused and relaxed. Think of Deep Breathing as your free mobile spa experience and carve out 5-10 minutes to practice intentional breathing on a daily basis.
Suffer from allergies, asthma, or a chronic respiratory issue that makes deep breathing less relaxing and more upsetting? Try our Breath Easy blend that Combines Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, Oregano and Sandalwood to uplifting and the respiratory system as well as empowers you to ‘breathe easy’ as you face the challenges of life.
Already a deep breather? Do you have a deep breathing practice that you’d like to share with the community? If so, drop a comment below and let us know!