How is your breath?
Can you tell me? Perhaps not. Yet if I asked you about your food and your drink consumption, you would be able to give me at least a broad answer.
We can survive without food for up to 3 weeks, without water for about 3 days, but breath……. It takes just seconds before our brain begins to die when starved of oxygen, literally seconds.
Yet despite the importance of breath to our body, we are still failing to give it the focus it deserves.
The process of breathing (and the quality of that breath) is fundamental to health. It is this quality of our breath and the air we breathe that directs every living cell in our body. For this reason, it has a dramatic impact on our health.
Here are 10 reasons that paying attention to your breath can pay dividends in the quality of your health and wellbeing and transform your life completely.
1. DEEP BREATHS REDUCE STRESS
Stress is the number 1 cause of all disease. FACT. Yet the art of simply engaging in deep breaths can instantly reduce stress, tension, and anxiety.
Stress comes in many forms, from financial stress, work stress, to stress from over-exercising,
Deep breathing activates the “rest and restore” branch of our parasympathetic nervous system . When this system fails to replenish, our body’s systems start to struggle, particularly our digestion. When we are stressed we hold tension in a variety of places, particularly in our gut and muscles. This tension creates pain, and by breathing deeply we start to release and relax the tension from these areas of the body.
If you suffer from IBS and have tried everything else (avoiding triggering foods, drinking peppermint tea, taking probiotics, etc.), give deep breathing a try as well. It might help. A lot of times, IBS is triggered by stress and anxiety, and deep breathing is a great way to start to relieving that.
2. THE QUALITY OF OUR BREATH DICTATES HOW WELL OUR CELLS BREATHE, I.E. BURN FAT AND USE ENERGY
The reason we breathe is to provide the organs, systems, and cells of our body with the oxygen they need to carry out the multitude of processes they do every day. So when the quality of the air we breathe and the rate at which we take it in is compromised, it is no surprise that the quality of the cell’s activities are of a lower quality.
For this reason, poor quality of breath leads to your cells being unable to work adequately. This includes the hormonal system, enzymes fighting infections, producing energy and burning fat and so on.
You may feel this as sickness, or if you are not used to quality breathing in the first place, you may experience this as your normal low energy.
3. DEEP BREATHING REDUCES MUSCLE TENSION
In and of itself, deep breathing promotes muscle relaxation, but there are certain exercises you can do to relieve muscle tension even further. While deep breathing, you can visualise a certain part of your body and imagine how that body part shifts into complete relaxation. Doing this will also relax your mind, as it’s a form of meditation where you take your attention away from your thoughts and focus intensely on just one thing. It can work magic.
4. DEEP BREATHS IMPROVE LUNG CAPACITY
This is especially helpful for people with decreased lung capacity, such as those who suffer from COPD. In COPD, the diaphragm becomes less effective, so diaphragmatic breathing can be incredibly helpful in strengthening it and expelling excess air that builds up in the lungs.
But deep breathing can be very beneficial even for people with healthy lungs. Increasing lung capacity is always a good idea. This can be done naturally through intense exercise, but if you’re a less active person incorporating deep breathing into your routine is a wonderful idea. Here is an example of how to perform these exercises.
5. DEEP BREATHING IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR PERFORMANCE
Deep breathing massages the heart each time the lungs inflate deeply. This massaging causes the heart to relax and work more efficiently, pumping blood in a more relaxed and complete manner than when our breath is shallow.
6. DEEP BREATHING INCREASES BLOOD FLOW
When you take deep breaths, your diaphragm moves up and down, helping push blood flow toward the heart, which boosts circulation and helps your body remove toxins.
7. DEEP BREATHING PROMOTES DETOXIFICATION
70% of the toxins removed from our body are removed via the breath when we exhale. What’s deeper, breathing causes extra movement in the body. This movement stimulates the lymphatic system of the body, which, unlike the circulatory system, relies on gravity and movement to flow properly.
8. DEEP BREATHING IMPROVES POSTURE
And good posture improves deep breathing. They work closely together. When you start deep breathing, you’ll notice you’re not able to stay crunched. Your chest will naturally open, your shoulders will roll back, and your spine will straighten up. Likewise, when you maintain a good posture, your breathing exercises will be enhanced.
9. DEEP BREATHING INCREASES OVERALL ENERGY
When your breath is shallow, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. As deep breathing naturally forces more air into the cells and improves circulation, you will start feeling more energised and alive. It’s a great exercise to implement whenever you start feeling sluggish or even instead of your mid-afternoon snack!
10. DEEP BREATHING IMPROVES SKIN AND YOUTHFULNESS
When your cells are receiving maximum oxygen rich blood, they work better. So it goes without saying that ensuring your cells work better will give you healthier and more youthful skin. Deep breathing also promotes the production of anti-ageing hormones that slow down the ageing of our bodies.
So in order to provide your body with the best environment to work efficiently, you must provide it with the correct breath.
I want you to see breath as a big part of the recipe of life that it is.
Just as your health would suffer without the correct food and fluid, breath is essential for it all and it is perhaps the most important ingredient.
Without it, none of the other stuff would even matter.
Yours in wellness