You might say that breathing is automatic, so why worry about it? After all, the body knows how to breathe. True, but there are factors that affect the quality of the breath you take and with it, the amount of oxygen and nourishment that gets delivered to the cells.
Because of poor breathing habits, most people use less than a third of their total lung capacity. This means that better breathing habits could more than double the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs, the blood and ultimately, the cells of the body. Increased oxygen means increased circulation, better detoxification and nourishment of all body cells.
How to Breathe for Better Health
Mindful breathing has numerous benefits, including improved focus and efficiency, increased positivity, and greater physical and mental energy.
We do not often observe our breathing and may take it for granted.
Observe your breath. Become conscious of your breathing and notice any patterns. Are you breathing slowly or quickly? Do your breaths come easily or are they labored? Recognize the continuous cycle of breathing in and breathing out.
Concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. Become mindful of each inhale and exhale. As you inhale, fill your lungs fully with air, expanding your belly to allow the the lungs to fill completely. Push all of the air out with the exhale as slowly as possible. Begin to shift your focus primarily to controlling your exhalation, which will lead to slower, more controlled breathing overall.
Keep your mind present. The goal of breath work is to focus on each breath and the cycle of breathing.
Be mindful of each breath as your lungs fill with oxygen on the inhale and slowly release it on the exhale. Concentrate on the process of breathing in and out, or focus your attention on your abdomen as it expands and contracts with each breath.
Consider timing. Breath work can be practised any time. Doing it early in the morning to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead can be very beneficial.
An excellent way to improve breathing is also through regular exercise. When the body moves, it demands more oxygen. The more you exercise outdoors in the fresh air, the better, for example Brisk walking.
Deeper and slower breathing is also the perfect antidote to stress.
Stress causes muscles to contract and restricts breathing. By consciously altering the breathing pattern with deeper and slower breaths, it is possible to relax the entire nervous system in a relatively short time.
You will notice that your posture plays a significant role in your ability to breathe well. When you?re slouched in a chair or sofa, the rib cage compresses the lungs, making it difficult for them to fill with air. The more erect you sit or stand, the better your breathing capacity. Deep breathing, in turn, will strengthen muscles and help them work more efficiently, thus improving your posture. Even the internal organs receive a workout through proper breathing?the contracting and expanding diaphragm massages the kidneys, liver, stomach and heart. When the lungs are expanded on the in-breath, even the intestines and lower organs receive a gentle massage.
Breathing is the most vital of body functions.
An improvement in breathing patterns and breathing capacity brings about an immediate improvement in all other body functions. Breathing is the very foundation of life, and it enhances the body's ability to regenerate itself.