BREATHING – It’s easy isn’t it?
How are you feeling today? Are you tense and tight or relaxed and calm?
Breathing is an automatic function which we don’t really pay much attention to. Most of the time we don’t use our full breathing potential and our bodies don’t get a full intake of oxygen, depriving us of a variety of benefits. So what’s the big deal?
Breathing fully, deeply and correctly increases our oxygen intake by allowing the lungs to fully expand and inhale maximum breath. This in turn feeds the cells and organs with nutrients via the bloodstream, which is required to function and promote good health – the more oxygen we take in the more carbon dioxide we can release as we exhale.
The lungs and heart are encased in the chest cavity and the diaphragm separates them from the remaining vital organs by attachment around the lower ribcage, stretching down towards the lumbar. When the lungs expand fully in the chest cavity they create beneficial movement within the abdomen as the diaphragm moves downward allowing the lungs to widen and fill deeper with oxygen.
When breathing deeply and fully the diaphragm is slowly moving upwards and downwards, massaging the organs and stretching the muscle attachments. At the same time the abdominal cavity is also expanding and retracting. Together these up, down, in and out movements massage the encased organs, detoxifying, promoting blood flow and pumping lymph fluids more efficiently – all helping to increase and promote good health.
The mere act of a full breath in itself promotes relaxation by immediately encouraging the mind and body to slow down and release tension. When breathing is long and deep and natural, it slows our breathing, increases effective oxygen supply, promotes relaxation and a feeling of general wellbeing.
To maximise the benefits of breathing deeply it is helpful to practise by sitting comfortably with your spine upright or laying straight back and start to focus on your breath. Gradually increase the length of both inhalation and exhalation until both are long, slow and approximately of the same count.
Practice awareness of your breathing:
Inhaling = lungs expanding, belly swelling, abdomen stretching, fresh oxygen.
Exhaling = air expelling, belly contracting, chest falling, diaphragm rising, inner calm.