Thursday, June 5, 2008

10 Tips About Breathing

10 Life Enhancing Facts About Deep Breathing

By Lauren Robins, author of The Palette of Breath

How often are you conscious of your breathing? Being mindful of deep breathing patterns has improved the health of people from all walks of life. Here are the facts.

1. Oxygen is your body's number one food.

Every one of your 75 trillion cells needs oxygen. Without the needed amount, your body doesn't function optimally and disease can occur. With it, your body is healthier, naturally supported, charged.

2. Shallow breathing can harm your body.

When the nervous system is stressed, shallow breathing occurs. This causes oxygen deprivation for the rest of your body. The nervous system leeches oxygen and burns it quickly. When stressed, deep breathing is your best ally.

3. Deep breathing aids in curbing digestive problems.

The esophagus goes through the diaphragm. The esophagus leads to the stomach. Tension in the stomach area and the diaphragm cuts off oxygen needed for proper digestion. This may cause indigestion, heartburn or acid reflux. Deep, belly breathing massages the diaphragm, aids in the movement of food to the stomach and supplies the oxygen needed for proper digestion.

Breathe deeply and slowly and notice the difference.

4. Deep belly breathing is heart medicine.

There are muscles connecting the heart to the diaphragm. Each deep and slow inhale and exhale massages the muscles around the heart. This enhances the circulatory system.

5. Laughter engages the healthy breath.

Laughter clears the body of stale air that sits at the bottom of the lungs. It is heavier than oxygen. Norman Cousins laughed himself well from a bout with cancer. "A merry heart does good like medicine, but a heavy heart drieth the bone." Old Testament

6. Deep breathing balances your body's chemical composition.

Shallow breathing makes your body more acidic. Viruses grow in an overly acidic environment. Deep, belly breathing alkalinizes the body. Andrew Weil MD states, "The simplest and most important technique for protecting your health is breathing."

7. Deep breathing enhances weight loss.

Oxygen burns fat. The more your deep breathe the more fuel you offer your body to burn this fat. Every successful, long lasting weight loss program has a breathing component within.

8. Deep breathing can reduce blood pressure.

All blood is oxygenated as it travels through your lungs. If there is more oxygen in the lungs then the heart doesn't have to pump as hard to oxygenate your body. "For high blood pressure, 'The Meninger Foundation in Kansas, uses deep breathing...90 per cent of the Foundation's high blood pressure patients shift their pressure to normal range' using this technique."

9. Shallow breathing and negative emotions go hand in hand.

Shallow breathing usually accompanies negative emotional states. Within seconds, emotional states release chemicals into your body. Negative emotions use these chemicals to deplete your body of its nutrients.

10. Your breath is your friend.

Breath is always there to nurture, feed and support your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Where you focus your breath is who you are in the world. Become friends with your breath. Cover your ears and listen. Is your breath deep and slow thus nurturing your entire body? Or is it jagged and shallow depleting you of the life enhancing opportunities it has to offer? Become friends with your breath. Listen to what it has to offer. It is one of your greatest teachers.

The Palette of Breath

Facts About Breathing

Lauren Robins

ISBN 1-884820-77-8

Breath is life.

The Palette of Breath: Facts About Breathing written and illustrated by Lauren Robins is a delightful educational journey into the importance of conscious breathing. Illustrations enhance the text making it accessible for visual learners. Juxtaposed to each illustration is a profound, supportive quote by a notable in the field of wellness.

Health is enhanced by conscious, deep breathing. The book reminds us that we have the capacity to inhale up to 3-4 quarts of air, but most of us inhale only 2-3 pints. This causes the build up of acids in our lungs and bloodstream. An acidic body is more prone to disease. As Sheldon Handler states in The Oxygen Breakthrough, "Breathing is the first place not the last place one should investigate when disordered energy presents itself." Think of deep breathing as a gentle rain that can clear and cleanse your internal landscape.

We are also reminded of the importance of activating the diaphragm as we breathe. Expanding the belly on the inhale and then pushing the belly back toward the spine on the exhale, creates a massage for all your internal organs. Every organ is massaged by diaphragmatic movement. Specifically, muscles connect the heart to the diaphragm; thus, each breath massages the heart.

Ours is a world that often takes the breath away from us. Reading the headlines, listening to the news, and facing our own individual trials is often challenging to say the least. All of these situations take a toll on our quality of life. These stresses prohibit deep breathing. Whenever fear, anger or anxiety inhabit our body, breathing becomes shallow and jagged. Some of us even hold our breaths. Tension fills the gut, the diaphragm area, depleting the entire body of air, its number one nutrient. We go back to inhaling two to three pints. Dizziness, indigestion, heart problems, aches and pains and a general feeling of malaise are but a few of the symptoms of shallow breathing. Protecting the heart, we curl in and our posture becomes compromised. Many of these situations have been reversed when we are awakened to our breathing patterns, engaging the body in a full, deep breath. A quote from Michael White of the Optimal Breathing School informs us that, "For over 30 years exciting data has been collected that supports the importance of good breathing for peak health and longevity." It's easy: it's right under your nose!

The facts of conscious breathing have been taught for centuries. Often called the deep mysteries or the inner teachings, ancient traditions have instructed students about the importance of this awareness. In The Art of Breathing, Nancy Zi reminds us, "...breathing can help you develop to the utmost, enabling you to acquire a greater sense of power and balance and to sharpen your mental and physical coordination."

After reading and breathing with this 55 page book, complete with an impressive bibliography, the reader feels a stronger connection with his/her body. It is a book that creates a bond of awareness with those who share it. Parents, grandparents, care givers, educators, therapists, athletes, yoga practitioners can all benefit from its reminders. All of us from all walks of life will be healthier if we follow the advice in this book. Now, take a deep breath and smile.