by Cindy VanDyke
We get our first breath the moment we are born, and the last one the moment we die. Every breath in between can be influenced with different techniques for different purposes. We just don't stop to think about it. I am going to show you the purposes and benefits of some of these techniques, as well as the techniques themselves.
Wisdom of the Breath
We have scientific facts of how each cell needs oxygen to thrive, and did you know that disease has a hard time surviving in an oxygenated atmosphere? They even have oxygen chambers for healing. Every system in our body needs oxygen to function at full capacity, and every emotion can be fueled or released with our breath.
We have one main breathing muscle, and I can't stress this enough. It is our diaphragm. It is at the base of our ribs and above our belly button and mastering the expansion and contraction of this muscle is the beginning of the wisdom of the breath.
Let’s take a moment and do a couple of breaths with our hand resting just above the belly button. Feel the hand and belly rise on the inhale and sink back down on the exhale. Sometimes people are backward breathers, and they pull their belly in when they inhale. This causes stress in our body.
If you take a deep breath and lift the chest and shoulders up toward your ears, you are causing chronic tension and pain in the neck and shoulder areas and even causing headaches. Take a moment close your eyes and focus on bringing your shoulder blades down. I find when most people think about it, they can drop their shoulders. They raise them unconsciously because we tend to breathe shallow into the upper lung only.
Here are some abnormal breathing patterns that can cause disfunction and discomfort in your body and create brain fog in your mind:
- Clavicular breathing, which is shallow upper lung breathing,
- Paradoxical breathing, which is reverse breathing; drawing the belly in when you inhale.
- Periodic breathing, which is a combination of breath holding and heavy sighing. Breath holding is very common, and people don't even realize they are doing it.
- Over breathing or fast breathing, which causes an imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Look at a baby's belly when they breathe. It goes in and out in a very relaxed and healthy manner. As we age with stress, unhealthy postural habits because of work or hobbies, and are influenced by advertising images, we tend to hold our lower body tight, or our head bent down, or our back curved forward, constricting our flow of breath.
In the coming weeks, we will be looking at how we can fix this breathing pattern, as well as some breaths to help with everyday stresses.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.