Change the Way You Breathe
When was the last time you saw a doctor? When I was younger, my father would take me to a clinic whenever I became ill. Since my seventh year of life, I've been a chronic Asthama patient. He would describe the symptoms of my illness to the doctor, who would then ask me to sit on a stool near him, put on his stethoscope, place the other end on my chest, and take deep breaths, which I would do. He'd then ask me to turn around as if he was trying to hear something, but the instructions remained the same - BREATHE DEEPLY.
It didn't occur to me at the time that DEEP BREATHING is the proper way to breathe. Even doctors would not tell us that we should be breathing deeply and slowly, using the Diaphragm muscle, which sits beneath the lungs and pulls them down as we breathe in.
Today, as I teach pranayama techniques, I realised that it is not just me who is unaware of the importance of proper breathing technique. It's no surprise that so many authors write about HOW TO BREATHE... The only people who understand the proper breathing technique are newborns until they realise the body can care for itself without our intervention. Breathing is, indeed, a semi-involuntary activity.
But why should we take Conscious Breaths?
Would you be surprised if I told you that your nervous system, circulatory system, and immune system are all nourished?
Deep breathing benefits your heart, relieves blood pressure, reduces stress, energises you, and helps you relax, among various other benefits.
Have you ever tried Deep Breathing?
It's very simple: sit in any comfortable position with one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest, and begin inhaling by filling the abdomen first, then the chest. Relax the chest and then the abdomen as you exhale.
After 5 minutes, you will notice a significant difference in your thoughts, feelings, heart rate, breath rate, and so on. You will feel more composed and calm. You will be able to sleep better and will not require sleeping pills. All you have to do is alter your breathing pattern.
Breath is more powerful than you realise. It has a lot more to offer than just oxygen. You just need to spend some time understanding its power and you will be amazed at what it can do for you - and all this for free.
Breathing consciously for an extended period is challenging, given the kind of responsibilities we are entangled with. But let us look at it this way. Do we put a project plan in place to take bath? NO ! We happen to do it casually because we have been doing it for years now. But was it the same when we were young. We learnt bathing ourselves over a period of time.
Is Breathing Conscious?
Breath is also an activity that can be done consciously for a limited period of time. Post which we get busy with other stuff and your unconscious part of the brain, through its nerves activates the reflexive function of lungs and starts breathing for you. Some yogis claim they are conscious about every breath they take. Of course, they have no other tasks and responsibilities other than breathing! They do not have distractions like WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Tinder, YouTube etc to get occupied with.
Our breath is energizing, refreshing, detoxing, maintaining acid-alkaline balance, and various other functions in the human body. Providing Oxygen to 100 Trillion cells is a challenging task. For this, we need to use our lungs to its fullest capacity. It is not exhaturation if I said an average individual only uses about 10-20 % of their lung capacity.
Are you Willing to Change the Way You Breathe?
There is another organ in the body that we use beyond its capacity - STOMACH. Poor guy takes the dump whenever you see, smell, hear, touch or taste food. In some instances we could say ABUSE. When we over-eat, our diaphragm finds no room to move down for lungs to expand, so we breathe heavy or hard. This not only leads to poor oxygen levels, but also poor digestion. When we are conscious about our breath, we are conscious of what we eat and how much we eat. Practice of Yoga activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for the rest and digest response of our body. While the Sympathetic Nervous System is always preparing us to Fight or Flight, it is responsible for releasing stress hormones in the body. Pranayama is a great way to negate the effects of Sympathetic Nervous System. Many lifestyle diseases can be kept at bay by changing how we breathe. And the best part is - IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.
Join our breathwork challenge, if you want to experience the hidden powers of your breath.
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