Breathing Properly for a Healthier Life
How many of us are aware of the importance of breathing for our organs’ proper functioning, especially the brain and heart, or how important our body, breathing, and nutritional habits are for living in peace and harmony?
Breathing is something we do regularly and automatically from birth. Only when we are short of breath, we are aware of how important this function is for our bodies and minds.
When we breathe superficially (thoracic breathing), the amount of oxygen that enters the body is limited. The air only enters the higher parts generating tension.
Over time, this gesture becomes a habit that reinforces the generation of stress in our bodies. If we keep this habit, we gradually lower our vital energy, and with it, we decrease what we call health.
Did you know that a person with asthma has more trouble losing weight and that manual lymphatic drainage in these cases can be counterproductive and that rhythmic breathing improves digestion and therefore promotes weight loss?
The respiratory system, together with the cardiovascular system, allows oxygen to reach every cell so that the body can develop normal vital functions. When oxygen reaches our cells, chemical reactions known as oxidative stress take place.
To receive the chemical energy of nutrients, oxygen acts as an oxidizer of the lipids and proteins necessary for the nutrition of the cells, transforming them into molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, whose function is to generate energy in our body. Cell regeneration depends mostly on having enough oxygen.
Yoga practitioners give high importance to breathing and practice deep breathing because they have observed that people who breathe deeply enjoy good health, more energy, higher mental balance, and, therefore, better self-esteem than those who breathe superficially.
Deep, Slow Breathing
A good respiratory and postural practice is fundamental to enjoying a better quality of life, thought and action, and being more aware of what we want and how we want it.
Breathing is one of the few body functions that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. It constitutes an excellent opportunity to improve our life if we intelligently exert this control.
Think that voluntary and conscious breathing can influence how we breathe when we do it automatically. In this way, we improve blood pressure, heart rate, cardiovascular function, digestion, and many other body functions.
When we breathe deeply, but especially slowly, we ensure that the oxygen reaches the cells and that the level of CO2 in the blood does not drop.
In turn, the breathing that benefits us the most is diaphragmatic breathing, which we breathe in deeply, allowing it to enter through the nose and completely fill the lungs by raising the lower part of our abdomen.
It is very important to maintain a position of 90 degrees between the hips and the spine if we want to oxygenate our body well and that the diaphragm has enough space for the lungs to fill its lower part.
The best reference for ideal breathing is that of newborns. If we look at a baby’s belly, we will see that it goes up and down, which means that it takes full breaths. The first thing to breathe well is to feel the air entering the nostrils and be aware that we are breathing.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
We have all been told at some point in our lives that ‘it’s okay, just take a deep breath.’ It is like a magical phrase that, at the moment of being said, generates integral well-being, an almost immediate relief with which we calm the body and reorganize the mind. This strategy will have more benefits if we get used to practicing it daily so that it becomes a habit.
- Improvement of our body’s cellular metabolism.
- Better management of stress and anxiety.
- Better sleep.
- Lighter digestion.
- Muscle pain, headaches, and migraines are reduced.
- Improved attention to our tasks.
- Better posture and thus less back pain.
- Increased focus on the here-and-now.
Some diseases can be prevented by conscious breathing, oxygenating the body, and re-educating the body’s posture.
In the beginning, people breathe, on average, 16 to 17 times per minute. Our goal with deep breathing is to do it ten times in a minute.
We will probably not achieve this in the first session, but gradually and day by day, we will reach this achievement, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on our well-being.
Behind every gesture, there is an emotion, a thought, and a breath.