Natural Breathing

Natural Breathing

What is the source of knowing how to breathe properly?
This is a quote from Genesis Chapter 2. Verse 7: “Then the Lord G-d formed the man (of) dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul”.

Breathing is an automatic involuntary process, which, if not done correctly, can be changed voluntarily with understanding and perseverance.

What is meant by “Breathing correctly”?
The art of breathing correctly is one of the many natural phenomena that we have from birth. Just watch a sleeping baby. The chest does not rise and fall nearly as much as the abdominal area. As soon as they have been introduced to the custom that the way to breathe deeply is to puff out the chest and pull up the shoulders, nature's gift is lost.

How are we supposed to Breathe?
To understand what nature intended, it is necessary and useful to understand how the diaphragm works. The diaphragm is the sheet-like band of muscle separating your chest from your abdomen. When the diaphragm relaxes and moves up into the chest cavity, the lungs contract and air is forced out. When the diaphragm expands, it moves down into the abdominal cavity, pressing on the lower organs. In the case where your automatic method of breathing is too shallow or incorrect, you can easily and consciously make changes that will affect the volume of air you inhale and exhale.

What are the advantages to Breathing correctly?
The advantages of using the full capacity of your lungs, which is only possible with proper breathing, is that your blood will receive the proper amount of oxygen, waste products will be removed from your system, digestion is improved, and your organs and tissues become nourished and strengthened. What is equally important, oxygenated blood helps prevent anxiety, fatigue, muscle tension and depression. Correct breathing, therefore, contributes greatly to a sense of physical and emotional well-being.

How can I check my own Breathing pattern?
A very simple test can show you whether you are breathing as nature intended. Sit up straight in your chair (or lie flat on the floor or on a bed) and place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. Then take several deep breaths IN through the nose. If your left hand moves more than your right, i.e., if your abdomen rises more than your chest, you are already breathing as nature intended. If your chest moves up and down with each breath, however, you are not breathing as nature intended. You will need to practice breathing abdominally. By applying some time and attention you will soon be all to get all the oxygen you need. It is time that will be extremely well invested.

Does correct Breathing reduce stress, tension and even pain?
Yes. Using Abdominal Breathing to Reduce Stress and Pain is a fact.
A common reaction to stress is a tendency to take short and shallow breaths, and sometimes even to hold one's breath. When you do this, you may subconsciously feel that by holding your breath you will be able to better control the situation. The reverse is true. You are likely to have even greater stress and anxiety, to say nothing of having less oxygen.
How can I stop being tense and even holding my breath if stressed?
To counter this tendency, when you experience stress, discomfort or pain, consciously stop and pause. Notice how you are breathing in response to the situation. If you are taking short, shallow breaths, gain greater control of the situation by taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm.

But how do I focus on the Breathing rather than the tension or pain?
Focus on what is happening now and on how you are feeling now, rather than on the future and on whether or not the stress, discomfort or pain will get worse. Remind yourself that by taking slow, deep breaths (IN through the nose) you will almost always bring your distress down to a manageable level, even though it may not be eliminated completely.

Is Sighing a good or bad habit?
Sighing Should Be Refreshing!
Until we learn to breathe correctly, we could often find ourselves sighing or yawning. This is the body's reaction to a lack of oxygen. To remedy the situation (and improve ones' state of mind) either take a deep abdominal breath IN through the nose and exhale through the mouth or sigh consciously. This "sighing or yawning" should not be confused with being tired.
This is how you can turn the sighs and yawns into a relaxing, mind calming experience. Without particularly thinking about inhaling, just let yourself sigh deeply. As you do this, let the air rush out of your lungs as you let out a sound of deep relief and then simply let the air come back in naturally through the nose. It is particularly helpful if you do this up to a dozen times or more, encouraging yourself to feel completely relaxed. As you do deep abdominal breathing on a regular basis, however, you are less likely to sigh a lot.

How can I Use Breathing as a Relaxation Technique?
Remember, when you focus on one thing, in this case your breathing, your mind is prevented from thinking about other things, no matter how serious or frivolous, as well as all the other thoughts that contribute to stress. Should your mind stray, bring it back by concentrating again on your breathing. This is a quick and simple way to use breathing as a focus of meditation - by deliberately using your breathing to quiet your mind. There is no need to be concerned if you are breathing "correctly" or not. This will work fine even if you're not breathing abdominally.

Can you explain exactly how I should learn to Breathe correctly?
First, find a comfortable position in which you can relax and focus your attention on your breathing, fully experiencing the flowing of air in through the nose and out through the mouth . . . in and out . . . allowing your body to breathe according to its own natural rhythm, easily, without effort. Notice yourself relaxing more and more as you focus on the flow of air coming into your body and going out again.If you find yourself being aware of your body because you are distracted by some ache or sensation, focus again on your breathing. In and out. . In and out. . Relaxing more and more.
I find it difficult to concentrate on trying to relax. What am I doing wrong?
If you notice thoughts or feelings that try to keep you from relaxing -- like the feeling that you aren't doing this right or you aren't relaxed enough -- simply return to an awareness of your breathing. And notice that by continuing to bring your attention to your breathing, you can quiet your mind and at the same time remain alert.

Is there a more practical way to learn to relax?
To practice the first step of relaxation, imagine that you have a balloon inside your abdomen. Each time you breathe in, imagine that the balloon is being filled with air. Each time you breathe out, imagine the balloon collapsing. Using your right hand, you can even push your abdomen to squeeze as much air out of the balloon as you possibly can. Before going to the next step, simply breathe in and out several times, allowing the balloon to expand and contract.

I am a Mouth Breather and find it difficult to breathe through my nose. How can I overcome this habit?
Should you be a natural "mouth" breather, then this second step will help to emphasize breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Here's how you can do it. When you close your mouth to inhale, place your tongue against the roof of your mouth, relaxing your throat much as you do when you yawn. After you have inhaled as much air as possible, hold your breath for a moment and change the position of your tongue so that it rests behind the lower teeth. Then open your mouth slightly and exhale gently, as though you were slowly blowing out a candle. Repeat this several times. . . .

Must the breathing pattern be even?
Most therapeutic breathing techniques place an emphasis on concentrating on steady, rhythmic breathing. Some are used as an aid to more effective meditation or as part of a yoga routine.

Is the same technique used in childbirth?
Yes, exactly. Special breathing techniques have helped millions of women to give birth more effortlessly. Controlled breathing and deliberate concentration on breathing during the act of childbirth can lead to a more relaxed state and can help to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort of giving birth.
If you are giving birth, taking a deep breath - usually in through the nose and out through the mouth - before and after every contraction can help you concentrate more on the breathing as a tool to help the birth process. This technique also allows your baby to receive more oxygen.

Can breathing affect my energy level?
Correct breathing techniques are beneficial to health as well. If you breathe deeply and slowly, you take in oxygen which helps to remove waste products from the body and ultimately helps to increase energy.

What happens if I am naturally a fast and even shallow breather?
On the other hand, erratic or fast breathing can lead to a rapid heartbeat and can constrict the flow of blood. It may be something we take for granted every day - but correct breathing techniques can certainly make a difference in our lives.

But breathing is such an automatic habit. How can I change it?
Again - Breathing is the only involuntary bodily function that can be consciously controlled.
What does this mean? Even though we do it all the time, we are not aware of the power and effect it can have. We cannot consciously take control of our digestion system (other than the initial chewing and mastication process), our blood pressure, our endocrine systems, etc., but we can take control of our breathing patterns. And, mysterious as it may be, through the breathing we can affect all of those other systems. Relaxation techniques are all derivatives of breathing. Digestion, blood pressure, and improved heart rhythms are all examples of improved health without drugs, brought about by using correct breathing techniques.

What is different about breathing through the mouth or the nose?
The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. Breathing through the mouth bypasses this function. The sinuses produce nitric oxide (NO) which is a pollutant but harmful to bacteria in small doses. Mouth breathing also accelerates water loss increasing the possibility of dehydration.
The act of breathing is the path to the subconscious mind.

Can breathing correctly affect the rate of healing from ailments?
Unless you use a hypnotist or become involved in extensive therapy (both good ideas during healing) affecting the subconscious mind, your greatest friend during healing, can be the result of taking the time to learn and apply even the simplest basic breathing techniques.

If correct nose breathing is so important, why don’t we hear about it more?
This breathing process is so simple and should be under our personal control. It is right “under our nose”, to the extent that it is too often disregarded as being important or powerful due to the general assumption in our society that all solutions are pharmaceutical.

What are the positive affects of correct breathing?
Slow, deep breathing is probably the single best anti-stress medicine we have. When you bring air down into the lower portion of the lungs, where the oxygen exchange is most efficient, everything changes. Heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, muscles relax, anxiety reduces and the mind calms. Breathing this way also gives people a sense of control over their body and their emotions that is extremely therapeutic.
You will obtain huge benefits from using these techniques. Do they work? Absolutely! But remember – Only You can Take Control & Be in Charge of Your Body.