Why is Breathing So Important?
Why is Breathing so Important? How to Improve Breathing? Not everyone breathes the same. Some people have better lung capacity, or have quit smoking, whilst some people specifically practice breathing for different reasons. How you breath is dependant on what you are doing, what you wish to achieve, and the environment you are in. Read the article on this page for an insight into breathing and learn how to improve your breath for life.”
On the path to self-realization breath is the bridge
between the body and the mind.
One of the best books available on the subject of breath is The Science of Breath by Hindu Yogi Ramacharaka. Ramacharaka writes:
To breathe is to live, and without breath there is no life. Not only are the higher animals dependent upon breath for life and health but even the lower forms of animal and plant life must breath in order to live. From the first faint breath of an infant to the last gasp of a dying man, life is one long story of continued breathing.Life is but a series of breaths. (p. 6)
So, we have it that breath is essential to life but, more so, breath is essential to thought, and uncontrolled thinking is often attributed to uncontrolled breathing.
Why Focus On Breathing?
Breath Control Equals Mind Control
Your breath and your mind are intricately connected. Think about the way your breathing is affected when your mind is experiencing something totally unrelated to breathing.
Trying being aware of your breathing whilst watching an exciting film. If the film gets suspenseful, you hold your breath. When the action speeds up, so does your breathing. Your breath responds to the film’s happy or sad ending by either becoming steady, smooth, and regular, or irregular deep and broken, all whilst you sit a chair hardly moving a muscle.
Spend an entire day tuning in to your breath. Notice how it quickens or slows according to what you’re doing, saying, or even thinking? Your breath can be affected merely by who you are in contact with, regardless of what you are doing. What our brain perceives is mirrored in our breath and body experiences. Just as the mind influences the breath and body, alternately, so the breath can influence the mind and body.
Yogi Ramacharaka in the Science of Breath writes:
By controlling breathing [the yogi] may not only cure disease in himself and others, but also practically do away with fear and worry and the baser emotions that affect the mind.
Patricia Einstein in her book Uncommon Sense talking about meditation and breathing says:
Resistance [to the now and what is your current circumstance and situation] only gives energy to what you’re resisting, creating a vicious circle of mental static. … breathing into whatever you’re thinking or feeling allows you to simultaneously let it go and open to a higher state of awareness.
As you bring your awareness back to your breath, you’ll find your thoughts floating to the back of your mind [and you have more thought control. (p. 78)
Do you doubt this? Try the Gratitude Breathing Exercise now to clear and calm your mind and note its effects on your thought processes and your mental state of being.
Try the breathing exercises located via the Breathing Exercises Page. There are exercises for numerous occasions and situations. They can be attempted by anyone and require no special skills. If you have any breathing relation medical conditions then it is probably a good idea to consult with a physician first, but most importantly, use your common sense. All the exercises are easy, simple, and have been used by yogi's and people practising meditation for thousands of years. You should find them of significant help in cleaning the mind, releasing anger, improving your focus, and generally helping to improve your well being.
Diaphragmatic or Deep Breathing
The diaphragm is a large muscle that stretches horizontally across the base of the rib cage. The diaphragm separates the lungs from the stomach and digestive organs and is connected in the front, along the sides and the back of the lower rib cage. When the diaphragm muscle contracts, it pulls the bottom of the lung cavity downward, causing the lungs to fill as a result of the ensuing negative pressure. At the same time the ribs also flare outward to the sides. Most people do not use the diaphragm during breathing, instead relying on the chest and abdominal muscles.
Wikipedia says: To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest.
During Diaphragmatic breathing the chest and abdominals muscles are not relied on. On inhalation, the diaphragm muscle contracts, and on exhalation, this releases and the air goes out. With the practice of deep diaphragmatic breathing, the space just below the breastbone, at the upper abdomen pushes in slightly so as to exhale more completely. When practising diaphragmatic breathing try to let the upper chest and lower abdomen remain motionless or still
The simple procedure is- one has to breathe with the diaphragm allowing the ribs to slightly flare out to the sides, while the shoulders, upper chest and abdomen remain motionless. Then you should breathe smoothly without any disturbance in the steady flow and breathe slowly within comfortable capacity with sufficient air and no straining. The breath should flow continuously without any pause between exhalation and inhalation and visa versa. When the practice is comfortable one should allow the exhalation to be twice as long as the inhalation.
The one biggest problem in learning diaphragmatic breathing is to know where the diaphragm is it located. Chest and shoulder breathing are simply not diaphragmatic breathing. One of the main problems with all forms of breath training, whether for meditation or clinical reasons, seems to be a misunderstanding of the location of the diaphragm. Part from the process of the successful awakening of the Kundalini diaphragmatic breathing has also been acknowledged by the modern medicine. Modern medicine has finally recognized that the breath is intimately connected to the autonomous nervous system and the mind.
Most people are very shallow breathers. This is due to a lot of things in life, including stimulants such as, excessive coffee intake, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs, but prescription and illicit. Most people do not practice any form of deep breathing exercise in their lives. Here are some tips for breathing, and in particular, the most therapeutic, deep breathing.
1. Exhale longer than you Inhale
You should be letting the exhale take twice as long as the inhale for proper effects, and that will probably take some practice. Take the time to take each breath in but then take twice as long to let it out so that you can really feel it throughout your whole body. This can work wonders for anything you are dealing with and is a good rule to remember!
2. Breathe Through Stressful Situations
Stress can be easily melted away if you learn how to make deep breathing a part of your life. As you feel the stress coming on and starting to settle within your body, take the time to step away and take a few good deep breaths to allow the stress to simply melt away in no time.
3. Breathe for Meditation
Meditation and deep breathing go hand in hand, and therefore both are essential for your health. Learn to meditate as least once a day to help you stay centred and well, and build on this to see the huge impact within your life.
4. Breathe for Pain Management:
The reason women practice deep breathing during labour is because it helps to ease the intense pain they are experiencing! By practising controlled deep breathing exercises you can reduce most pain and instead, focus on your well being and a positive mind state.
Click Here to try some Breathing Exercises.