Today I'm going to talk about breathing, and why it is so important to breathe correctly, and why it is so essential.
We breathe even if we're unaware, of course, but have we put in practice correct and healthy breathing?
Breathing is important for 3 reasons. First it is the only means to supply our bodies and its various organs with the supply of oxygen which is vital for our survival. Secondly, it is one means to get rid of waste products and toxins from the body. Third, it is vital to our energy field and circulation and ventilation of energy.
Importance of Oxygen
It is the most vital nutrient for our bodies. It is essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. We can do without food for weeks and without water for days, but without oxygen, we will die within a few minutes. If the brain does not get proper supply of this essential nutrient, it will result in the degradation of all vital organs in the body. The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If it doesn't get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts and depression and, eventually, vision and hearing decline. Old people and those whose arteries are clogged often become senile and vague because oxygen to the brain is reduced. They get irritated very quickly.
Ancient, more spiritual cultures knew the importance of breathing. They developed and perfected many breathing techniques. These are particularly important for people who spend most of their time sitting in a room/office and their bodies are not really active.Their brains are oxygen starved and their bodies are just getting by. They feel tired, nervous and irritable and are not very productive, they sleep badly at night, so they get a bad start to the next day continuing the cycle. This brings an inclination to their immune system, making them susceptible to catching colds, flu and other illnesses.
The most important thing for achieving vitality and rejuvenation is purification of the blood stream. The quickest and most effective way to do it is by taking in extra supplies of oxygen from the air we breathe.
Oxygen cleans up the toxins in the body, as well as energizing it and charging up the solar plexus (plexus solaris-energy center at the plexus). In fact, most of our energy requirements come not from food but from the air we breathe.
Science has discovered that oxigen is also the most vital thing for creating our primary physical energy source, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
Do we breathe healthy?
Most of us have developed bad habits of breathing. Yes, we breathe unaware, but our breathing is modified over time. We breathe in short and shallow breaths and our body, as much as it adapts, suffers. And the social conditions most of us live in don't help with that, on the contrary.
Here is something I found, something I hadn't really thought about until now:
Improper breathing produces diminished mental ability. The corollary is true also. It is known that mental tensions produce restricted breathing. A normally sedentary person, when confronted with a perplexing problem, tends to lean forward, draw his arms together, and bend his head down. All these body postures results in reduced lung capacity. The more intense the concentration, the more tense the muscles become. The muscles in the arms, neck and chest contract. The muscles that move the thorax and control inhalation and muscular tenseness clamp down and restrict the exhalation. The breaths become shorter and shorter. After an extended period of intense focusing, the whole system seems to be frozen in a certain posture.
Our breathing is too shallow and too quick. We are not taking in enough oxygen and we are not eliminating enough carbon dioxide. So, our bodies are oxygen starved, and there is a toxic build-up.
|Most of us are breathing smog and ash|
Shallow breathing does not exercise the lungs enough, so they lose some of their function, causing a further reduction in vitality. Animals which breathe slowly live the longest; the elephant is a good example. Quick shallow breathing results in oxygen starvation which leads to reduced vitality, premature ageing, poor immune system among other things.
We are working indoors more and more. As a result, the body inhales less air to protect itself from pollution. I just takes in enough air to survive. As we go through life, these bad breathing habits we picked up become part of our life. Unless we do something to reverse these habits, we can suffer permanent problems. Those problems are reversible, but with a lot of work.
The ancient yogis, hindu and budhist monks among others, knew the importance of correct breathing and developed techniques not only to increase health and life span, but also to attain super-conscious states.
Importance of Breathing Through The Nose
The first rule for correct breathing is that we should breathe through the nose. This may seem obvious, but many people breathe principally through the mouth. Mouth breathing can adversely affect the development of the thyroid gland. It can retard the mental development of children.
The nose has various defense mechanisms to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body. At the entrance to the nose, a screen of hairs traps dust, tiny insects and other particles that may injure the lungs if you breathe through the mouth. After the entrance of the nose, there is a long winding passage lined with mucus membranes, where excessively cool air is warmed and very fine dust particles that escaped the hair screen are caught. Next, in the inner nose are glands which fight off any bacilli which have slipped through the other defenses. The inner nose also contains the olfactory organ-our sense of smell. This detects any poisonous gases around that may injure our health.
The yogis believe that the olfactory organ has another function: the absorption of prana from the air. If you breathe through the mouth all the time, as many people do, you are cheating yourself of all this free energy (prana). The yogis say this is a major factor in lowered resistance to disease and impairs the functioning of your vital glands and nervous system. Add to this the fact that pathogens can enter the lungs via mouth breathing, and you can see that it's impossible to be healthy, not to mention vital, if you breathe through the mouth.
One of the many breathing techniques for absorbing prana - Nadi Shodhana
Or the sweet breath, is simple form of alternate nostril breathing. Nadi means channel and refers to the energy pathways through which prana flows. Shodhana means cleansing. So Nadi Shodhana means channel cleaning.
Benefits of practicing it: It calms the mind, soothes anxiety and stress, balances left and right hemispheres, promotes clear thinking
-Hold your right hand up and curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your ring finger and pinky by your left. Close the left nostril by pressing gently against it with your ring finger and pinky, and inhale through the right nostril. The breath should be slow, steady and full.
-Now close the right nostril by pressing gently against it with your thumb, and open your left nostril by relaxing your ring finger and pinky and exhale fully with a slow and steady breath.
-Inhale through the left nostril, close it, and then exhale through the right nostril. That's one complete round of it >
-Inhale through the right nostril
-Exhale through the left
-Inhale through the left
-Exhale through the right. Begin with 5-10 rounds and add more as you feel ready. Remember to keep your breathing slow, easy and full.
Hope you enjoyed. Next time, I will write the 3rd part of the Enlightenment guide.
Namaste and cheers!