Optimum Breathing Tips
Of all the elements our body's need for optimal health, Oxygen is the most critical. None of our cells, or organs, or skin can function without it. Don't believe me? Just try depriving yourself of it and see what happens (OK, I am just kidding - don't try it!). But do try using a little logic and you will see that oxygen is absolutely essential for life, and ultimately, for abundant health.
If your brain is deprived of oxygen, for as little as a few minutes, it will die! On a cellular level, oxygen deprivation can cause degeneration, mutation and death. Ongoing oxygen deprivation creates a state in our bodies that inhibit its ability to fight off disease (of all kinds), causes feebleness and decay, aging, slows the metabolism, inhibits the repair of damaged cells and tissues, and inhibits the creation and reproduction of new healthy ones. Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Otto Warburg, conducted a study in which he was able to change normal cells into malignant cells by simply lowering the amount of oxygen available to them.
One of the most important areas effected by oxygen deprivation is the brain. Inadequate oxygen supply to the brain effects judgment, reason and intelligence. In fact, studies have shown that oxygen deprivation is a primary cause of cognitive impairment. It is my personal belief that one of the reasons many people seem to have a problem with distinguishing between "right" and "wrong" and in resisting "temptation" is because they have been, and continue to be oxygen deprived.
The fact is that we absolutely depend upon oxygen to function and thrive. One would think that fully oxygenating our systems would be a high priority. And yet, the sad truth is that most of us do not get enough oxygen for our bodies and minds to function optimally. And most of us are totally ignorant of how to help our bodies get enough oxygen.
Does it come as any surprise that the most effective way to provide your body with the oxygen it needs is by Breathing? Most of you are probably saying: "Duh"! But the fact is that most of us don't breath optimally! Most of us breath very shallowly and, therefore, do not oxygenate our blood or our bodies adequately.
Breathing, when done properly, should begin in your abdomen and then expand to your chest cavity -- with the ribs and chest expanding as you inhale. If your posture is poor, your breathing will be restricted (try sitting in a chair withyour shoulders humped forward and try to take a deep breath -- you will feel and find that you can't). If you sit or stand erect, with your shoulders square, you will find that your breath will begin in your abdomen and expand to your chest and that your chest is able to expand much more fully than when your posture is slumped over. One interesting thing is that, with a little practice, you will find that breathing more deeply and fully will actually cause you to correct your posture and vis versa.
Anthony Robbins, a very respected personal development guru, in his book "Unlimited Power", provides an excellent exercise for deep breathing that can be done almost anywhere and anytime. This method helps insure the full oxygenation of the blood during inhalation AND the expulsion of toxins (CO2 & others) during exhalation. I use this method frequently throughout my day (and have used it for years) and have enjoyed many benefits from it (see "Benefits of Proper Breathing" below).
Deep Breathing Exercise:
Robbins states that your breathing ratio should be: 1 (inhale): 4 (hold): 2 (exhale). So, if you inhale for four seconds, you should hold your breath for sixteen seconds and exhale for eight. This is great if you can do it, but I have found that holding the breath for that long (breath after breath) is a bit too taxing for most people. You may want to work yourself up to this rate, or modify it as I have to a ratio of 1:2:3. Using this ratio, I usually inhale for five (5) seconds [this fills my lungs and chest cavity completely], then hold for ten (10) seconds [which forces the oxygen into my system and allows me to get the most from each breath], and then exhale through my mouth for fifteen (15) seconds [completely emptying my lungs and finishing the breath with a final push, or silent grunt, from my abdomen]. Repeat these steps for ten complete breaths and do this several times per day.
Using this method you can increase your breaths to longer counts, but always do them in the same ratio. You can do this anywhere (you don't have to hide in the closet) and I highly recommend that you do it outdoors in fresh air. It's invigorating! One final note: I like to take one deep breath (inhalation) and immediately exhale deeply before I start the actual breathing exercise. This gets my lungs, body and mind prepared to begin the exercise and helps clear out any phlem before I begin.
Benefits of Proper Breathing (including Deep Breathing):
The benefits of proper breathing are many. They included:
- Increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body -- including the brain.
- Increases the supply of blood and nutrients to muscles and bones.
- Increases and promotes the movement of "lymph" throughout the body -- helping to eliminate toxins and strengthen the immune system.
- Reduces mental and physical fatigue.
- Helps reduce the need for artificial stimulants (like coffee, alcohol or drugs).
- Relieves congestion. It can even help relieve long term respiratory difficulties like asthma and bronchitis.
- Improves blood circulation throughout the body. This helps oxygenate all your cells and organs, helping them to function optimally and increases their capacity to fight infection and disease.
- Partially compensates for the lack of exercise and inactivity. Note: this does NOT make "Deep Breathing" a replacement for proper and adequate exercise.
- Gives you more energy and just flat out makes you feel better!
With a list of benefits like this, why not give it a try and see for yourself if you don't notice a marked difference in how you feel and how much clearer your thinking is. If you couple proper breathing (which includes breathing fully with each breath
, not just during deep breathing
) with proper nutrition, water, rest, exercise, sunlight, and trust in God; you will be amazed at how much better you feel and how much clearer you think! Give it a try and practice deep breathing regularly (until it becomes a "habit
"z). You'll be glad you did!