It might sound simple, but on an unconscious level, it is not. Many of us have grown habitual to shallow breathing. That is, we take small breaths that use only a portion of our lung’s capacity. But with practice, as well as consciousness (awareness) we can train of bodies to breathe deeply without even thinking about it.
Breathing is the source of life. The moment we are pulled from the womb and released into the world we take our first full breath of oxygen. But as we grow older, our primal physical functioning tends to taper. Unfortunately for many, strong breathing using the full lung’s capacity is often hindered.
Training yourself to breathe from the bottom of your lungs has a number of benefits. Not only does better breathing help from a physical perspective, but it also contributes to greater stability of our emotions and enhanced sharpness of the mind. There are two great things that happen to the body when we breathe to our fullest.
The more obvious of the two is increased oxygen. More air flowing into our lungs promotes better delivery of oxygen throughout the body. This results in many benefits in its own such as improved healing capabilities and better brain functioning.
The second physical benefit of taking deeper breaths stems from the muscles that control the diaphragm. These muscles, such as the intercostals muscles, correlate to proper core functioning, and thus influence other important movements of the body, even walking and running. When these muscles remain idle due to chronic shallow breathing habits, inhibited core functioning is the result. This can lead to improper mobility which can later result in a confusing cause of injury.
Our minds and emotions are also greatly impacted by our breathing habits. Aside from the biological aspects of more oxygen going to the brain, many find greater breathing to contribute to a higher sense of awareness. When we feel ourselves taking in slow, deep breaths, we are more in-tune with ourselves. This can help us in many ways, both spiritually and for greater peace of mind.
In order to improve upon almost anything subconsciously (or without having to focus or be aware) one must practice at the conscious level. When it comes to deeper breathing, sometimes it takes more than just paying close attention.
You can significantly achieve better breathing habits by taking ten minutes out of day to simply breathe. Dedicate this time to consciously breathe while resting comfortably on the floor. Be mindful of every deep breath you take. You can even experiment with taking in a breath, holding it in, and pushing the air to different areas of your diaphragm. This can help you realize better control of your intercostals as well as other parts of your body.
The essence of deeper breathing is the foundation to many practices, such as Yoga and several forms of meditation. It is the center of life as well as the center of our bodies. To take deeper breaths habitually, one must become more aware, so start on your path to deeper breathing on a more subconscious level.continue...
Yoga is an ancient practice whose health benefits resound till today. It is a potent way to improve circulatory and cardiovascular health. It is rooted to breathing and stretching, thus it is a very natural means to maintaining the body’s homeostasis.
One may be skeptical if one has never practiced yoga because it seems to border on the mythical aspects of human energy. It has however been proven scientifically that there are a dozen health benefits of practicing yoga daily. It is interesting that beginners are the ones who notice the most significant positive changes on the body.
The first point to note is that yoga improves breathing significantly by encouraging full use of the lungs. Most of us are shallow breathers and it can be demonstrated that athletes breathe ten times better than the average man. This alleviates most chest problems and the onset of asthma. The whole body benefits from increased circulation and oxygenation.
Secondly, yoga helps to stretch the spine and all the joints. This separates the vertebrae, which are the bones of the spine easing the associated nerves and vessels. The cerebral spinal fluid also flows more freely and posture is dramatically improved. Everyday stresses and strains lead to compaction and even twisting of the spine. Yoga aims to reverse this, and it has an actual effect of making yoga practitioners stronger.
The movements in yoga are very fluid and give time for the body to adjust to new posture. The poses are slow but rhythmic enabling increased circulation and breathing yet a slowing of the heart rate. This is an important point on improving endurance. It is a light exercise that tones the muscles and strengthens the weak ones.
Yoga focuses on core strength that has to be achieved in order to attain flexibility and balance. The human poise is challenged by stresses on the back and abdomen. With core strength, the body will be able to return from incorrect posture. The consciousness of one’s posture is improved with yoga such that one can begin to realize that he is not standing or sitting correctly. This is critical as it helps heal common back pain in a very natural way without ingesting regular pain killers.
Diseases of the joints like osteoporosis or arthritis are very painful. The pain can be alleviated by light yoga sessions that stretch the affected joints thus allowing circulation and healing. Uric acid trapped in the joints is released. Some individuals suffer aches and pains because of accumulated lactic acid in the joints and tissue. This is also physically released during yoga.
Certain important hormones and biochemicals are released during yoga meditation. The process can be identified as the feeling of wellness that encompasses one on the yoga mat. The positive effects include reduction of stress and a heightening of the senses. Mental alertness also improves; this is also contributed by the fact that negative stress hormones are reduced. Those who have experienced panic attacks or trauma with shallow breathing among other symptoms will have less likelihood of having repeat episodes.continue...
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