Thursday, June 5, 2008

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.

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