We take our breathing for granted – it’s just happens.
And thank God for that – if you have ever experienced a choking episode you know how intense going a few moments without your breath can be (and how thankful you are when someone who knows the Heimlich Maneuver comes to your rescue).
There are many other aspects of breathing that you may not be aware of; for example, you may not have experience with meditation, yet simply being still and breathing, focusing on your breath – long, deep inhales and long, complete exhales – is a highly effective yet simple method of meditation, replete with all the benefits: relaxation of the body, calming of the mind, and the like. The point being, you needn’t be an ‘expert’ or skilled at Transcendental Meditation or other practiced meditation techniques.
Effective breathing is critical to our health and wellbeing. We all know the importance of our cell’s mitochondria, in producing the energy molecules that fuel cellular metabolism, but these little bacterial organelles do so much more.
They act as signaling stations for communication within and between cells and they even signal the DNA in the nucleus to replicate or to die. So they are responsible for cellular energy production, communication and reproduction.
Even though our mitochondria can function anaerobically, without sufficient oxygen supply to our tissues and cells, mitochondrial function is severely impaired. Impaired tissue-oxygen delivery is caused primarily by poor breathing habits, inflammation, metabolic imbalances and poor circulation.
Pausing to take three or four slow deep breaths prior to eating is another way to utilize intentional breathing to enhance your digestive health by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, as well as lowering your stress (a condition of being sympathetic nervous system-dominant). .
There is an entire field of study and practice called ‘Breathworks’ that teaches scientifically proven methods and techniques to:
- be healthier
- lower the body’s stress response
- balance body pH
- reduce inflammation
- enhance immune function
- fight off depression
- sharpen concentration and performance
These scientifically-based methods are utilized by a varied of people in all walks of society – from free divers to corporate CEOs to stressed tech workers to Navy SEALS.
Breathwork for Your Health by Dr. Josh Axe
Anandamide — The Body’s Own Antidepressant And How To Boost It Naturally
Breath – The New Science Of A Lost Art by James Nestor
Breathing for Warriors: Master Your Breath to Unlock More Strength, Greater Endurance, Sharper Precision, Faster Recovery, and an Unshakable Inner Game
The Oxygen Advantage: The Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques for a Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter You
Oxygen Under Pressure: Using Hyperbaric Oxygen to Restore Health, Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Aging and Revolutionize Health Care