Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
When I was in high school I took voice lessons every week where most of the time was spent doing breathing exercises. I never realized then how therapeutic those days were to my body. From what I’m learning these days correct breathing can heal our bodies, can increase our vitality and can relax our anxious spirits. It’s so interesting to me that we don’t have to teach babies to breathe! They simply do this as a reflex to live. Yet, as adults, do we give focus to the very thing that keeps us alive? Can we be using this as a tool to gain health and strength? It’s just so amazing how God has designed our bodies and this earth. Even more incentive to keep our earth healthy and producing the oxygen we and our future generations need. As I often say, I’m not an expert yet, so I have found some tips from people who are! Hope they help you today.
Oxygen is free! It’s a simple thing to stop, focus, and just breathe for your health. It’s been said that proper breathing has profound effects on our health. Over 70% of waste by-products are eliminated through our breathing and our skin. When our blood is heavily oxygenated it becomes very difficult for virus’ and bacteria to grow in our body.
Deep breathing is important from the standpoint of both health and spiritual development. Deep breathing increases our vitality and promotes relaxation. Unfortunately, when we try to take a so-called deep breath, most of us do the exact opposite: we suck in our bellies and raise our shoulders. This is shallow breathing. To learn deep breathing we need to do far more than learn new breathing exercises. Before deep breathing exercises can be of any lasting value, we need to experience and understand through the direct inner sensation of our own bodies the function of the chest and diaphragm in breathing, as well as the function of the belly, lower ribs, and lower back. We also need to observe how unnecessary tension in our muscles impedes our breathing.
The Mechanics of Deep Breathing
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped structure that not only assists in breathing, but also acts as a natural partition between our heart and lungs on the one hand, and all of the other internal organs on the other. The top of the diaphragm, located about one and one-half inches up from the bottom of the sternum, actually supports the heart, while the bottom of the diaphragm is attached all the way around our lower ribs and connects also to our lower lumbar vertebrae. When we breathe, the surface of our diaphragm generally moves downward as we inhale and upward as we exhale. (See if you can sense these movements periodically throughout your day.) When we breathe fully and deeply, the diaphragm moves farther down into the abdomen, and our lungs are able to expand more completely into the chest cavity. This means that more oxygen is taken in and more carbon dioxide is released with each breath. Deep breathing takes advantage of the fact that the lungs are larger toward the bottom than the top.
The Impact of Deep Breathing on Our Health
Deep breathing can have a powerful influence on our health. To understand how this is possible, we need to remember that the diaphragm is attached all around the lower ribcage and has strands going down to the lumbar vertebrae. When our breathing is full and deep, the diaphragm moves through its entire range downward to massage the liver, stomach, and other organs and tissues below it, and upward to massage the heart. When our breathing is full and deep, the belly, lower ribcage, and lower back all expand on inhalation, thus drawing the diaphragm down deeper into the abdomen, and retract on exhalation, allowing the diaphragm to move fully upward toward the heart. In deep, abdominal breathing, the downward and upward movements of the diaphragm, combined with the outward and inward movements of the belly, ribcage, and lower back, help to massage and detoxify our inner organs, promote blood flow and peristalsis, and pump the lymph more efficiently through our lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, which is an important part of our immune system, has no pump other than muscular movements, including the movements of breathing.
Deep Breathing for Relaxation
Many of us breathe too fast for the conditions in which we find ourselves, that is, we actually hyperventilate. This fast, shallow breathing expels carbon dioxide too quickly and has many bad effects on our physical and emotional health. When our breathing is deep, however–when it involves in an appropriate way not only the respiratory muscles of the chest but also the belly, lower ribcage, and lower back–our breathing slows down. This slower, deeper breathing, combined with the rhythmical pumping of our diaphragm, abdomen, and belly, helps turn on our parasympathetic nervous system–our “relaxation response.” Such breathing helps to harmonize our nervous system and reduce the amount of stress in our lives. And this, of course, has a positive impact on our overall health.
Breathing Exercises May Be Harmful to Your Health
Please understand that if you’re going to get into this sort of therapy, there are dangers. We have to be aware of our body’s limitations. Some advanced yoga breathing exercises may not be right for you yet. So, please don’t see this blog as your cure or a prescription. It’s just an informative and encouraging word that should lead you to do more research for yourself.
3 BREATHING EXERCISES:
Breathing in, Breathing Out
One of the simplest, safest, and most powerful breathing practices you can undertake on your own behalf is to consciously follow your breathing in the many circumstances of your life. As you inhale, simply be aware that you are inhaling. As you exhale, simply be aware that you are exhaling. Try this practice for 10 minutes or so at a time at least three times a day. It will help free you from your automatic thoughts and emotional reactions and thus enable you to wake up in your daily life more often, to live with more receptivity and clarity in the present moment. You may find this practice especially useful at moments when you are anxious or angry.
Before we were born, our mother provided through our umbilical cord the nutrients, food, and oxygen that we needed to live. In many traditions, the area just below the navel and midway into the body is considered to be a sacred center of energy. In any event, our belly is one of the major areas that get tight and tense when we are under a lot of stress. And this greatly affects our internal organs, our breath, our energy, and our overall health. In this breathing exercise, we are going to work with “belly breathing” in order to open our belly and allow our diaphragm to move deeper down into our abdomen on inhalation and farther up to squeeze our lungs and support our heart on exhalation. This will have a powerful influence on our respiration, on the way we breathe in the many conditions of our lives.
- Lie down comfortably on your back on your bed or on a mat or carpeted floor. Position yourself with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent (pointing upward). Simply follow your breathing for a minute or two with your attention. See if you can sense which parts of your body your breath touches. Continue to follow your breathing as you rub your hands together until they are very warm.
- Put your hands (one on top of the other) on your belly, with the center of your lower hand touching your navel. Watch how your breathing responds. You may notice that your belly wants to expand as you inhale and retract as you exhale. Let this happen, but don’t try to force it. If your belly seems tight, rub your hands together again until they are warm and then massage your belly, especially right around the outside edge of your belly button. Notice how your belly begins to soften and relax.
- Now rub your hands together again until they are warm and put them on your belly again. Watch how this influences your breath. Do not try to do anything. Simply watch and enjoy as your belly begins to come to life, expanding as you inhale and retracting as you exhale. If your belly still seems overly tight and does not want to move as you breathe, press down with your hands on your belly as you exhale. Then as you inhale, gradually release the tension. Try this several times. Notice how your belly begins to open more on inhalation.
- When you are ready to stop, be sure to sense your entire abdominal area, noting any special sensations of warmth, comfort, and energy. Spend a few minutes allowing these sensations to spread into all the cells of your belly all the way back to your spine.
This simple practice will have a highly beneficial affect on your breathing, especially if you do it on a regular basis. Remember that you can try this practice at any time of the day or night. Though it’s easiest if you are lying down, you can also do it sitting, standing, walking, and so on. It is an excellent practice to try before you get out of bed in the morning. It is also an excellent practice to work with whenever you are anxious or tense, since it will help relax you and center your energy. Over time, it will help slow down your breathing and make it more natural.
Tan Tien Cleansing Breath
The tan tien cleansing breath is a powerful, natural breathing exercise for both health preservation and self-healing, as well as for increasing your inner, vital energy. Based on natural, diaphragmatic breathing, it involves inhaling through the nose and directing the breath energy down into the lower tan tien, the area just beneath the navel, and exhaling waste products up and out through the nose or mouth while simultaneously condensing the breath energy into the cells of the lower abdomen. The tan tien cleansing breath requires a long, slow exhalation. By intentionally prolonging the exhalation, you not only promote the removal of toxins from your body, but you also help turn on your parasympathetic nervous system, thus furthering inner deep relaxation and healing.
The key to using tan tien breathing to help heal yourself is to inhale gently all the way down into the tan tien area, an inch or two below your navel. As you inhale, put your attention on the lower tan tien and sense your breath energy filling your lower abdomen. Feel how your abdomen naturally expands. If you like, you can put your hands on your belly (see the Belly Breathing Exercise) to help attract your breath there. As you exhale, sense any tensions and toxins going out with the breath as your abdomen naturally contracts, but do not “throw out the baby with the bath water.” Learn to be attentive to the vital warmth or vibration of the breath energy remaining in your abdomen as you exhale. Guard it with your awareness. Feel it being absorbed deep into your cells as you exhale waste products upward and out through your nose or mouth. Do not use any force or effort in doing this practice. Use only your awareness and intention.
Tan tien breathing is an important aspect of natural, authentic breathing, so be patient and gentle as you undertake this exercise. The key is to work with your full attention, without any feeling of willfulness, and to sense the energy in your abdomen as you breathe naturally and effortlessly. If you can work in this way for several minutes each day for a few weeks, the tan tien cleansing breath will quickly become a regular and natural part of your life.
Tips To Increase Oxygen In The Body
There are a number of different ways one can increase the oxygen saturation of the blood and tissues:
1. Fresh air. Increase the amount of oxygen in the air you breathe by allowing fresh air into every room of your home, office and transportation.
2. Deep breathing. Improper breathing causes oxygen deficiency. Use the full capacity of your lungs by expanding both the chest and lower abdomen. Practice deep breathing for a few minutes every day. If you feel depressed, try breathing more deeply. Deep breathing also contributes to moving the lymph.
|3. Aerobic exercise increases the capacity of the heart to pump blood and increases the capacity of the lungs.|
4. Eat smaller nutrient-dense meals (no empty-calorie junk food). Overeating causes oxygen deficiency. Do you feel tired after a big meal? Vitamin F increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Eat an alkaline diet and create an alkaline condition in the body.
|5. Antioxidants help the body use oxygen more efficiently. Antioxidants include Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) which is found in the greenest plants, Microhydrin, co-enzyme Q10, germanium (a trace mineral), thioctic acid, taheebo/pau d’arco, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, retin-A (a form of vitamin A), ginseng.|
6. Avoid carbon monoxide (vehicle exhaust, fumes from gas stoves & heaters) that reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Fluoride also interferes with oxygen uptake (“ Oxygen Oxygen Oxygen (Dr. Donsbach Tells You What You Need to Know About) ” by Donsbach, page 30). Alcohol and drugs rob the body of oxygen because the body must oxidize these substances during the process of their removal (“O2Xygen Therapies: A New Way of Approaching Disease” by McCabe, pages 86-87).
7. Consume supplementary oxygen from other sources such as oxygenated drinking water, fresh foods and juices, magnesium peroxide, magnesium dioxide.
8. Bathe in oxygenated water. Add one pint to one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your bath water and soak in it. Be sure your bath water is free of chlorine. You can remove the chlorine in your bath water by putting a filter on the shower head and fill the tub via the shower.
Not only are these good tips, they will help you quiet your mind and be still. In my heart I know that when I am quiet (mentally, spiritually and physically), I hear God a little more clearly. Isn’t it so amazing how He who gives us breath wants us to gain strength from it and hear Him when we are still and meditate on the LIFE He gives. This is a lesson that He continually teaches me since I am prone to stress and tension and tightness in my body. He teaches me to Be still, and know that (He is) God! (Psalm 46:10). I have such a hard time learning this that I have it tattooed on my spine!!
May your day be filled with pauses and quiet moments of deep, cleansing breaths! Enjoy this free supplement from your Creator!