Every Breath You Take

Posted by Heart Niagara on

by Cindy VanDyke

We get our first breath the moment we are born, and the last one the moment before we die. And every breath in between can be influenced by different breathing techniques with unique purposes. We just don't stop to think about it. In today’s article, I am going to show you the purposes and benefits of some of these breathing techniques and how to do them.

Wisdom of the Breath

We have scientific evidence telling us that cells need 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 we experience can be fueled by 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. Mastering the expansion and contraction of this muscle is the beginning of mastering 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 your chest and shoulders up toward your ears, this can cause chronic tension and pain in your neck and shoulder areas which can lead to really bad headaches. Take a moment to 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 most people’s breaths tend to be shallow and into the upper lung only.

Here are some abnormal breathing patterns that can cause dysfunction 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.




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