What Has Your Breath Done For You Lately?
How often do you notice your breath? Probably not much. Unless you’re struggling to catch it or so relaxed that every rise and fall of your chest seems to happen in slow motion.
We breathe more than 20,000 times a day, and with each inhale and exhale we have the opportunity to nourish our body and soul, and to rid it of toxins and stress.
The breath is a curious thing. While we can deliberately control it for our benefit it also works on its own, acting as a quiet but not so subtle indicator of our overall health and wellbeing.
Let’s look at some of the ways that our breath works for us and with us to keep our energy and spirits high…
Oxygen is the most critical substance for our bodies. Our brain, nerves, glands, and internal organs depend on it, and without it we would die in a few minutes. If the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, all essential organs shut down. With each inhale, we breathe in oxygen, which transforms nutrients into food.
Breathing takes excess waste products, like carbon dioxide, and transports them out of the body. With each exhale, we release that which does not best serve us.
Breathing is simple. But we often take for granted the effect that is has on our body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes we don’t realise that our breath paints a perfect picture of our emotional and physical health.
Just for today, make a conscious effort to notice your breath. Pay attention to the depth of your inhalation and exhalation at given moments.
Deep, prolonged inhalations usually happen when our bodies are at rest, and are minimally effected by their surroundings.
Short, shallow breaths arise when we are tense or overburdened, or when the body is met with trauma. Whether because of it, or as a cause of it, empty and superficial breathing is associated with the “fight or flight” response in our bodies, which wreaks havoc on our systems.
Learning good breathing skills, and good life-management skills for that matter, are essential to allowing the nourishment of oxygen to completely fill us up, and to renew every fiber of our being.
Here are some breathing techniques that you can practice, to connect with your breath and to recognise total body and soul health…
This way of breathing involves slow, full inhalations and exhalations that allow the nervous system to create a space for clearer thinking and soothed nerves. Inhale through the nose for 3 seconds. Fill the entire lungs. Gradually exhale through the mouth, taking about 6 seconds. The inhale to exhale ratio should be 1:2.
Use this breathing method to stimulate the body without caffeine, and to put a spring in your step. Quick, short, in-and-out breaths, with a one-second inhalation and exhalation at a 1:1 ratio, will gently increase the heart rate and supply blood flow to the brain.
Remember, our breath affects the state of mind, and is an effect of our state of mind. Make breathing a purposeful endeavour every day that paves the way for peaceful existence and vitality!
Enjoy this healthy, refreshing and warming dish!
Nourish your body, nurture your soul,