Before reading this, take a deep breath through your nose, inflating your tummy until you feel the air entering the last corner of your lungs.
Breathing is one of the many unconscious body acts that we perform in order to stay alive. How many times in a day are you aware that you are breathing? Certainly very few.
Behind breathing there’s a fascinating world of mechanical, biological and energy regulation that allows us to enjoy this world each day, without having to be aware of whether or not we’re going out of air, isn’t this amazing?
What few of us know is how a good vs. a bad breathing can do for life on a daily basis. Being an unconscious act and that we certainly don’t worry about much (unless we are actually drowning), we forget the importance and the huge effect, just breathing can have in every cell of our bodies.
From a physiological point of view we can see how a short, quick, uncontrolled and unconscious breathing has a deteriorating impact on the body. When we breathe half way, without filling the lungs properly, without inflating our lower tummy, the signal we send to the body is a sign of danger. The body sees this as a state of alert, because this type of breathing occurs usually when you are in a survival situation (meaning something like running for life in a hurricane, earthquake, etc.) which consequently activates the sympathetic nervous system. This system releases a cascade of hormones that increase energy expenditure, heart rate, and even inhibits the secretion of gastric fluids preventing proper digestion. A hormone called cortisol (or stress hormone) is also released by the adrenal glands, which suppresses the immune system, raises levels of blood glucose and hinders weight loss.
Now, when we are stressed how do we breathe? Although you might not be aware, just like we have described above. Short, fast, without much awareness and without much depth.
What happens then when we breathe with awareness, deeper into every corner of our lungs?
It changes your life. The sympathetic system stops secreting the hormonal cascade and the parasympathetic system comes into place allowing proper digestion, regulating blood glucose, heart rate decreases and energy expenditure is stable. This among many other things. Looking from a physiological eye, the body calms, the heart beats more slowly, the mind comes to a quieter state, and then we realize that the magic of life is to enjoy every breath. From a more spirit and energetic point of view, there is an important connection with every cell of the body, it is nourishes, oxygenated and given the freedom to work properly. We stop being so temper, we stop seeing the negative side of everything and start seeing the positive, and most amazingly, we become happier.
So … why not breathe properly? Take a deep breath before speaking, take a deep breath before thinking about discussing, take a deep breath when you fall in love, take a deep breath when things are not going so well, take a deep breath when you eat, take a deep breathe when you’re stuck in traffic, take a deep breath when you conquer a goal. Breath… it changes your life, and by little, you’ll be much happier !