Healthy breathing is designed by nature to be circular and flowing. The in-breath melts into the out-breath in a continuous co
nnected pattern. Unhealthy breathing is when we breathe too quickly; when stress, fear, and trauma cause sudden shocks and stress in the smooth breathing cycle. Unhealthy breathing exacerbates the oxygen balance in the body and our body goes into a mild state of alarm because of our oxygen/co2 imbalance. Typical symptoms of oxygen imbalance are chronic fatigue, low level anxiety and mental haziness. After a few days of continuous connected breathing practice, most people report mental clarity, increased energy and harmony in their bodies.
Understanding the physics of the body and breath work.
A healthy body has a good circular system and good movement of the white blood cells that help the body repair itself. In sports medicine, you learn that athletes do not move through the heart beat alone but rather through muscle expansion and contraction. Each time you use your muscles they expand and contract the whole lymphatic system—our biggest defense against infection and disease. The white blood cells, those healing cells that travel through our body to remove waste and help heal injuries or disease, move through muscle contraction. Lymph is not pumped, but moved when the vessels are compressed by surrounding muscles, as they contract during movement. Simply put: If you're not moving those muscles, you're not moving those white blood cells. Each time you breathe you are pumping this whole system. If you sit for a long time in front of the computer not moving or spending a lot of time lying on a couch watching TV, your whole system becomes stagnant; white blood cells lie still; muscles remain immobile. In “The Art of Natural Breathing,” we use the rib cage and the rising and lowering of the center of your body-- the core of the body that moves the whole system and the part that holds those important organs. Breath work is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. One of the most important things you learn in these workshops is to breathe into the center of your chest, massaging and feeding all those organs with new white blood cells. When you breathe fully, you expand, contract and expand your rib cage, carrying all the white blood cells in and out and around the body, helping the body remove waste and toxins from the body and allowing fresh oxygen to enter the body—enabling the body to heal itself.
Enjoying the same benefits of an athlete—without the work out!
Athletes know the importance of pumping this whole system during work outs, but we are not all athletes and if we have a job, where we sit all day, we are not helping our body. In fact, your body can be as healthy as an athlete’s just by breathing. For the more you breathe, the less oxygen your body expends. By running you increase your oxygen, but you also increase the need of the body for more oxygen. If you increase your oxygen without running all that healthy oxygen is going to race to the place in the body that is blocked or needs it the most. All those white blood cells will start helping the body. You can actually get healthier without exercise. Isn't that a great thought! Just by learning some simple breathing exercises you can be healthier!
Does breathing equal more life?
What is breathing? Breathing is life! Without it we can’t live. The more we breathe, the more we experience life. The less we breathe, the less we experience life. Breathing is the source of our energy; our spirit. As the source of our energy, the more you breathe, the better you can tap into this source, drawing more life inside of you. This added source of energy can help you move forward in life, help you remove the blocks that stop you from experiencing the life you want—even help you reach your dreams. Have you ever had a day where you feel numb and the whole world feels gray? Try breathing for 15 minutes in the manner taught in the workshops and your whole world can change that day. You will not be down or depressed and you will start to feel more life—more spirit. Believe this and you are ready to begin changing, letting in more love and spirit into your life.
Breath work provides insight and passion. Breathing affects our emotions, our movements, our personality, our passion. Take an artist or a person excited about a project they are working on; they naturally take passionate breaths. Similarly, all of us can take passionate breaths by becoming aware of our emotions and feelings, our whole self. Awareness of our breathing and knowledge of our breath gives us our greatest gift. We start learning and realizing who we are.
Choosing more life by choosing the next breath.
Besides the oxygen you receive by breathing, with each new breath we take, we choose more life. When we hold our breath, our breathing is very shallow. We are telling ourselves: “I don't want more.” When you take a breath you choose to take a breath. If you don’t choose to breathe then your body will breathe on its own, out of a need for oxygen. You breathe just barely enough to keep yourself alive—no more, no less. That's how most of us live our lives each day. We never fully live our joys, our passions, our dreams. The simple act of consciously choosing each new breath, brings more of that life we desire to us.
CHEMICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIONS TO BREATHING.
Breathing is the natural response of the body’s desire for oxygen and the nutrients that oxygen provides to the rest of our organs, tissues, and systems. To take a breath is like eating food. It is a necessity that provides the body with the basic building blocks needed to function correctly, so that you feel good. We have both chemical and physiological reactions that begin with our inhalation as well as emotional and psychological reactions. Even skipping one breath begins a series of restrictive changes that we can immediately feel. Alveoli in the lungs are tiny, threaded membranous structures where oxygen is distributed into the blood stream and where gaseous waste and carbon dioxide are returned and released through exhalation. The whole body starts to wake up when the whole system starts to breathe--the body becomes lighter and more alive.
Breathing is “inspiration!” Why?
Just inhale and you will see how it changes the way you feel. Take a few deep inhales and you become “charged up” again. Want to feel depressed? Just breathe less or breathe slower. You will feel different, your emotional state, the way you feel is all around the body. You feel good or bad depending on how your body feels. Just by taking a few deep breaths, your body starts to feel better, so you start to feel better. When your body starts to feel bad, your whole emotional state is out of line. There are so many factors involved in the lack of breathing that you experience; but by knowing how to change your breathing process, you can change your self.
Studies show that most people sub-ventilate to some degree. Sub-ventilation can cause mental and physical fatigue. We don’t function at a high level when we breathe poorly. Although we think we are functioning normally every day, we sub-ventilate. Under stress, we breathe poorly; our bodies become rigid, leaving them with less energy, less emotion, and less life. Most people breathe about 20-40% of their full capacity. That’s 20-40% of what is possible for us to achieve in our lungs. Don’t you want to use your full capacity? Don’t you want the full range of health your body should have that comes with a full breath?
Is Breathing meant to be something more?
What if we could have deeper experiences, more joy in life? Could the breath do that for us? When people breathe they feel refreshed, they feel awake and energized. Even a yawn draws more air into us and we feel better at that moment because our brain and other systems get nourished. If this is true, wouldn’t it make sense that the more breathing we do, the better we would feel? When we laugh, this is also the time we are the most oxygenated. When we dance, we breathe; when we exercise we breathe. Feeling low on energy tired or just run down? Can you believe that all you need to do is just breathe! Breathing and the accompanying oxygenation that follows produces chemical and physiological processes which the body absolutely requires. No breathing, no oxygen, no health. It's just that simple
When “traumatized” or frightened we stop breathing.
We become frightened for many reasons—whether it is fear of not being able to pay one’s bills or a physical trauma that has happened in the past. Something has shut down our breathing. Every time we feel scared or feel fear, we stop breathing. Take the emotion of anger, for example. There have been many times in my life when I became so angry that my chest tightened. I started to notice that my anger slowly choked off my life force, leading to illness. Emotional trauma gets stuck inside the body. Fear and tension gets stored in your body for later processing—at a time when you feel safe enough to process it. In this way the body is like a diary which records and stores life events, feelings, tensions, and restrictions, including breathing restrictions. We don’t want to breathe because we are afraid of being traumatized. Breath know-how is essential to release the trauma, enabling you to resume a fully functioning life again.
Reading about The Art of Natural Breathing is not enough.
You need to experience it.