Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

What is the one thing we can't live without?  The breath.  Many of us may have said food or water, and this is true; but unlike food or water we can't go more than a few minutes with out breath.  After just a few minutes with out taking in oxygen we will be left with severe brain damage and not much longer after that the body dies.

Oxygen is like fuel for our brain, and how much or how little we take in directly affects the nervous system.  Our breath has a huge impact on our body's health, and yet rarely we pay attention to our breathing habits.

Our society is one that moves quickly, and this directly shows in our breathing patterns.  In traffic, at your desk, even in the comfort of your home have you noticed you are holding your breath or taking short rapid breaths?  I have, and I am constantly catching myself do it.  This "stress breathing" is a fight or flight reaction, and most of us are doing it during times of rest.  Poor breathing habits like these can cause you to feel loss of energy, gain weight, and there are more studies researching breath and the link to diseases like Parkinson's.

So what do we do to stop this epidemic?  We breath.

Practice deep inhalations and exhalations.  Completely fill the lungs with air let the chest and belly rise, and then slowly release so that your exhale is about as long as your inhale.  It's hard at first and it will take time to make proper breathing habitual.  Over time you should notice you're more energetic, and feel less anxiety.  Correcting your breath will bring more clarity and focus to your work and home life, and most importantly it may just prevent severe illnesses later in your life.


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