The importance of breathing is vital to our very existence and helps us to stay truly in the PRESENT!
The Importance of Oxygen
I would like to take this time to address the most essential element that is important for our day to day survival and that is…”oxygen” or O2. We can survive without food for days, survive without water for a few days, but we cannot survive without oxygen if we are deprived of it for more than 2 minutes.
Getting Oxygen through Breathing
The way that we get this essential element is by “breathing.” We either breathe in through our nose or in through our mouth. We take this automatic function for granted and at times do not realize how often we are not truly breathing to our utmost full capacity. When we are either under stress, angry, frustrated or afraid we hold our breath in response.
Less Oxygen Means More Tension
Over time when our bodies are placed in these situations we unconsciously start to breathe less and less to the point where all of a sudden we are short of breath, have sleep apnea, or as extreme as needing an oxygen tank to breathe. We learn to operate with less oxygen and hence we start to develop tighter muscles, decreased flexibility and wonder why we don’t get as much rest when we sleep at night. Our bodies soon become bundles of stress and tension which eventually leads to an increase in blood pressure, cholesterol, digestive problems, pains, more frequent colds, and even as extreme as cancer.
Types of Breathing – Is there a right way to breathe?
I have had the privilege for the past 12 years to witness all types of breathing- breathing in through the nose or in through the mouth; chest breathing, diaphragm breathing, and different yogic breaths. It still is amazing for me to see someone breathe not only into their stomach but eventually throughout their whole entire spine from the tailbone up through the top of their head.
A Deep Breath Makes all the Difference
It truly is a “very, very good” job when someone takes a deep breath throughout their whole entire body and become connected with one’s own internal rhythm and knowingness. I am truly blessed to be present as my practice members take the time out of their hectic schedules and life to take the time to prioritize themselves. Teaching the body how to breathe even in the midst of stress, anger or fear is something that I strive to instill in all of my practice members in the first months of care.
Breathing helps us to bring more oxygen into our bodies, which helps all of our cells to regenerate, heal, and grow. Breathing also brings us back to the PRESENT moment. When you consciously take a breath in, you truly become present with your body and become aware of deep, short, restrictive, easy breaths. If you have never been to one of my life talks, I would like to entreat you to try this one breathing exercise, which seems rather simple but will show how breathing truly brings us into the present moment.
Breathing Exercise and BE-ing the PRESENT
Here is the breathing exercise – try and think about a past event that was either a happy moment or a very challenging event and hold onto this moment in your mind. As you hold onto this moment, you will likely feel a corresponding emotion and as you continue to hold this memory in your mind, try and take some deep breaths in and at the same time try to hold onto this memory. See if you can hold onto this memory or is it a struggle? As bizarre as it may seem, it is almost impossible to hold onto a past memory or event when you are taking deep breaths. The reason being is that when you focus on your breath, you literally force yourself to feel your lungs expand and contract as you breathe in and out. It is truly hard to not stay in the present moment as you feel your breath enter and exit your body.
My Personal Experience with Breath
I realized this simple concept upon reflecting a time when I was around 9 years old and came running to my mom full of anger due to something that just happened to me and my mom simply told me, “Chad, please just take seven deep breaths.” Of course I being the stubborn and willful soul that I was, did not want to breathe, but wanted to complain about how angry and hurt I was. My mom just persisted and said, “Please humor me Chad and take 7 deep breaths.” So I said I would if she would listen to my complaint once I was done with my 7 deep breaths. As I started to take the deep breaths in, even though I was still angry and hurt, as I got to the third breath and then the fourth breath I started to get calmer and not as angry. By the time I got to my seventh breath, the most amazing thing happened which was that I truly forgot what I was angry about and walked away in a better space than before.
The Essence of the Body Learning How to Breathe
I share this funny story about something that happened to me a long time ago and it was not until 12 years ago did I see how important it is for us to breathe deeply, but more importantly for our bodies to have the ability to breathe even in the midst of stress, anger or fear. By receiving the breath of life and by breathing to the fullest of our lung capacity is a gift of truly being in the PRESENT. I suggest for you to take the time to be aware of your breath and see what happens when you get angry, focused or stressed. By taking the time to breathe and to just be, is a precious gift that you can give to yourself and your loved ones too.
We can remind ourselves to breathe with our minds, but the moment we focus on a project, get bombarded with assignments or different things happening all at once, we forget to breathe consciously. So why not get your body to learn how to breathe in the midst of chaos or stress, so that way your mind can stay clear and figure out the appropriate response to the stress? The moment our bodies learn how to breathe in all different situations – good or bad; is when we achieve the benefit of not holding onto and storing stress in our muscles and bones. This new found strategy of our body breathing frees our mind to be aware of and conscious of other goals or things we want to accomplish and experience.
Please share any comments and experiences