From the moment we take our first breath of life until our demise, we will breathe without thinking about it. We can, however, choose to focus on breathing and bring about physiological changes in our body that will prolong life and bring improved health.
Breathing consciously is an art and it is worth mastering.
Sit or lie so that your spine is straight and you are comfortable and relaxed.
Try taking a deep breath through your nostrils, softly and quietly (not a sniff) and focus on the soft palate at the back of your throat.
Imagine this air is going to fill your lungs from the bottom up in the same way that a jug is filled with water from the bottom up. You will notice the stomach expand.
As you breathe out, the air will escape from the top of the lungs down. If stale air is left in the lower part of the lungs then we do not exchange the carbon dioxide which has been extracted from the blood with life-giving oxygen.
Be aware of your rib cage as you breathe. The ribs should expand and contract gently. The lower ribs move out like a bucket handle, the middle ribs move out as well as up and down while the top ribs just move up and down. If you look in a mirror you should not see you chest heaving. You should see a gentle expanding and contracting in the front, side and back of the rib cage.
Just allow the out breath to gently give way to the in breath in a rhythmic cycle that suits you as an individual. You will find that with practice your breathing becomes deeper and allows your body to relax in a way you may not have experienced before.
Test Find your pulse by holding your fingers on your wrist just below your thumb. Begin to breathe while you count how many heart beats it takes to breathe in, then how many it takes to breathe out. It is not uncommon to find you breathe in for more beats than you breathe out or vice versa. Asthmatics usually breathe in for a longer period than they breathe out.
Tip Try allowing your tongue to come forward, relax your jaw, your lips can be closed or open slightly. Practice your breathing while holding your pulse. Can you feel a greater flow of air into your lungs?
More life-giving oxygen to the body. Not a single cell can be built without red blood and not a single red blood cell can be built without oxygen.
Releasing of body toxins via the breath. The lungs are a major organ of elimination. The build up of toxins in the blood causes fatigue and lowered immunity.
Oxygen to the brain improves mental health. Dr. Philip Rice say’s “The IQ of a child can be increased by enlarging the intake of oxygen through correct breathing.”