We perform the life-sustaining actions, like eating, drinking, sleeping and so on, consciously.
We prepare our food, procure our water, put ourselves to bed, responding to a natural urge, as well as to the belief that these actions are necessary for our well-being, and also for our survival.
Yet, we are completely unaware of one of the most important of them, which is breathing, something we do out of reflex, without paying any attention to the way we are doing it.
The fact is that we are not doing it in a healthy way.
As babies we breathe properly but with age we let our lifestyle and way of thinking corrupt our natural functioning of the body and forget about the importance of air in our lives.
Our body needs oxygen to perform various functions, and our brains wither in lack of this compound. The way we breathe determines the amount of air that we take in, as well as influencing an entire chain of functions.
For example, hyperventilation is the effect of taking rapid and superficial breaths, which we usually do when sitting for hours in front of the computer. It leads to low levels of CO2 in the blood and high pH levels, less calcium and potassium and a decrease in the blood flow to the brain. The consequences could manifest as numbness, spasms, fainting, hallucinating, increased heart rate and difficulty in containing our emotions.
The correct way of breathing is diaphragmatic breathing. As the name says, it is breathing through your diaphragm. While breathing in, you push the air to your belly, pumping it to make room, and by doing so not only do you take in a larger amount of air, but you also protect and clean up your lungs.
By improper breathing residual air constantly remains in the lungs, and they become exhausted as the task of breathing becomes a burden when not supported by the entire body.
Our physical education as children is either lacking, either completely wrong. In our sports classes teachers were demanding that we pump up our chests with air when we breathe, our parents were telling us to suck our bellies because it isn’t polite to have this posture in society, and the media is promoting thin athlete bodies so we’re again advised to keep our bellies sucked and our chests pumped up.
All of these contributed to an extremely unhealthy way of breathing that we’re almost all performing unconsciously.
It is time to learn how to breathe, and to perform this action consciously at least a few times times a day. In time, your body will also learn how to do it in this manner unconsciously, as in without the need of your conscious observation.
Take deep, long, conscious breaths:
- Breathe in, pumping your belly to full extent, filling it with air – visualize the fresh, purifying, invigorating air entering your body;
- Then let the air enter your lungs and your chest area – you’ll notice that you can take in an ever bigger quantity of air in your lungs, if you let it in your belly first;
- Move upwards towards the upper part of your chest and feel the flow of air opening your collarbones;
- Visualize how all this clean fresh flow of air gets to your brain head and fills up your brain refreshing the mental atmosphere;
- Keep your breath on hold for a moment.
- Breathe out slowly, performing this sequence in the same order, visualizing how all physical, mental and emotional impurities are evicted from your body.
Focusing on your breathing is the first step of any meditation practice, and its benefits go beyond your holistic health as they get you in a general flow state, calming your mind and bringing peace to your emotions.
>> Do you want Better Meditation? Check out this quick Breathing In Flow technique to make your meditation easy.
What is your process for conscious breathing?
Is there a shortcut you have found to gather peace of mind and enter the flow state?