You must be wondering why it is so important…
If you are reading this, you must be alive and clearly know how to inhale and exhale; in other words, breathe, but did you know that most people get it wrong?
Over time, stress causes the breathing rate to quicken, and our muscles to tighten. Many people become chest or thoracic breathers (meaning they only use the upper parts of the lungs).
So how do you know whether you are breathing correctly?
Take a deep breath through your nose, fill your lungs, and exhale through your mouth. Did your belly move? Your abdomen should have visibly expanded and contracted with each breath. (This is more noticeable if you put a hand on your stomach. Better still, lie on your back and place a book on your stomach).
Breathing correctly is more than merely inhaling and exhaling. Breathing should be slow and rhythmic, taking air deeply into the abdomen, counting to 5, holding and counting to 3, and then exhaling fully through the mouth, counting to 5.
Continue to take deep, slow breaths (don’t ‘sip’) by inhaling for three seconds, and exhaling for six seconds or more. This allows the correct amount of oxygen to reach all the cells in the body. Repeat until you can breathe like this naturally.
The correct breathing technique is also an important part of healing. Deep belly breathing – as opposed to ‘chest’ breathing – has numerous positive benefits…
- It is a powerful destresser.
- It slows the heart rate.
- Blood pressure decreases.
- It relieves chronic pain.
- Muscles relax.
- It releases tension.
- It decreases anxiety.
- The mind calms.
- It elevates mood.
- It releases toxins.
- It relieves nervous energy.
- It helps to reduce PMS symptoms.
- It strengthens the lungs and immune system.
- It improves digestion and the nervous system.
- It increases stamina and energy levels, and
- It produces a general relaxed state.
Breathing correctly may be one of the best preventative treatments for many health problems.
And although we know how to breathe, breathing properly takes practice. So practice the breathing exercises until it becomes automatic and feels natural.
And if you ever feel the need for an energy boost or feel nervous or are lacking focus and concentration, take a long, slow deep breath.