Proper breathing is often ignored but is extremely essential to maintain your health and fitness. By breathing slowly and deeply, you ensure that sufficient oxygen is taken into your lungs and thereby into your bloodstream. Oxygen is required to get rid of various toxins that build up in our systems one of which is carbon dioxide. Your cells and muscles require fresh and sufficient oxygen in order to function properly and avoid fatigue, and as we age, there is automatic reduction in blood oxygen levels which can be improved with proper breathing.
There are several breathing techniques that can be followed to improve your breathing patterns, including deep relaxed breathing, the relaxing sigh, and the rolling breath. Whichever the technique, it is essential that the diaphragm is properly used. When you breathe, you should be aware of your diaphragm pulling down to expand your lungs and increase the inflow of oxygen, and then pushing back up to expel the carbon dioxide.
Use the Diaphragm
Utilizing the diaphragm in simple deep breathing, means being aware of your rib cage expanding, including the opening out of your floating ribs, and expanding your abdomen so that the diaphragm has the space to expand. You have to also lift up the upper chest and allow it to expand. At the end of your inhalation, reverse the process by letting your chest fall, contracting your ribs, and pulling your belly in. The process of this slow technique can further enhance lung capacity if you count as you breathe in and out. Start with five, and gradually build up the number of counts on each breath, making sure the length of breathing in and out is the same, and that you are comfortable with that time period.
Deep breathing exercises can be enhanced with the use of a breath trainer. A breath trainer applies the principles of resistance training to your respiratory muscles which include those around your rib cage as well as your diaphragm. As you practice these exercises, your lung capacity will gradually increase, leading to improved intake of oxygen and increased amounts of oxygen in circulation, which helps with your capacity to burn fat.
Another simple exercise is breath moving. In this technique, imagine that your breath moves to the top of your head when breathing in, and down to the base of the spine and perineum as well as to the bones you sit on when breathing out. This helps in improving your concentration.
Benefits of Proper Breathing
Proper breathing has several other benefits which include
- an improved immune system
- a calmer nervous system
- better gut function
- improved blood and lymphatic circulation
- increased concentration
- a better posture
- better muscle and joint function
- faster growth and repair overall
The physically movements of the diaphragm aid in giving you an internal massage of the heart, stomach intestines, pancreas and liver, increasing the circulation and movement of toxins through these organs. Besides the physical and physiological benefits to proper breathing, it also helps with mental and emotional well-being. By being physically more relaxed, stress levels decrease. A relaxed brain also releases more endorphins which are your body’s natural painkillers. It can deepen your meditation and powers of intuition, and help in connecting with your partner, both sexually and emotionally.
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