Are you breathing deeply enough? Do you even think about your breathing? Can you take a slow controlled breath in for 10 seconds and then a slow and controlled breath out for 10? Breathing is so natural to all of us but often little thought is taken over how we breath and the huge impact it can have on our lives if we breath incorrectly, or too shallow. Many of us breath too shallow sucking in our bellies and raising our shoulders. The fact is that the deeper you breath the better your general well being and the more relaxed you are able to become.
The breathing process has a large impact on our internal organs and the diaphram plays a central part in this. The diaphram is dome shaped and acts as a natural barrier between our heart and lungs and our other internal organs. The upper part of the diaphram actually supports the heart and the lower part attaches around the lower ribs and lower lumbar vertabrae. As we inhale the diaphram moves down allowing more air to be take into the lungs as the chest cavity increases, as we exhale the diaphram raises and the chest cavity is reduced. So the deeper we breath in the more oxygen can be taken into the lungs and conversely the more carbon dioxide can then be expelled.
Deep breathing not only allows us to take in more oxygen and expel more carbon dioxide it also has a huge impact on other areas of our health. As a deep breath is taken in the bottom of the diaphram actually massages the liver, stomach and other organs as well as massaging the heart on its return. Shallow breathing does not allow for much of this massaging. Also, as we deep breath the belly, lower back and lower rib cage expand. This process of up and down, in and out allows for a natural detox of our body through the promotion of blood flow, peristalsis and lymphatic pumping. Our lymphatic system is vital for removing toxins from our body and plays a key role in our immune system. Other than massage and muscle contraction the lymphatic system has no other means of inducing movement.
Deep breathing is also a huge relaxation instigator. I am constantly telling my clients to control their breathing during exercise, most people take more breath than is necessary. Breathing too shallow and rapidly expels carbon dioxide too quickly and isn’t very good for your health. Deep breathing slows things down which in turn signals our parasympathetic nervous system and promotes a relaxation response. This is a great stress reliever and also helps to harmonise our system and promote overall long lasting health.
My advice is to start taking some time to understand your natural breathing patterns. Try to slow things down. Take long controlled breaths in and slow controlled breaths out. Think about drawing your belly button into your spine as you breath out and letting your lower stomach relax as you breath in. Deep breathing is vital for all aspects of good health, focus, concentrate and control your breathing and you will live a much healthier and stress free life.
Copyright (c) 2007 Greg Brookes