Breathing to Well Being

Many of us are not breathing from our diaphragm, instead, our breath stops at the chest. Our body is not used to a correct exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide so it is important to gently move into breathing exercises that will correct this misuse.

Many think falsely that when aroused with anger, fear, anxiety or the myriad of negative emotions, frequent deep breaths is the panacea for the imbalanced state.

A deep and prolonged inhalation fires up and stimulates instead of gently calming and relaxing.  When in essence it is the slowing down and prolonging of the exhalation that brings one to their core and center.

Rather than the chest rising and falling it should be relaxed and follow the rise of the belly. Diaphragmatic breathing is the healthiest process.   Of course the exoteric role of breathing is to stay alive.  This occurs when the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide is in maximum balance.

Too much oxygen respective of the level of carbon dioxide sends the nervous system into a shaky state of disturbance.  Too much carbon dioxide relative to the amount of oxygen produces fatigue, listlessness, and sluggishness.

The practice of breathing from the diaphragm, which is natural for infants, is a necessary discipline to counteract the poor habits of bad posture, stress load, anxiety, negative thought patterns, and habits that pressure, overwhelm and overload the nervous system. Notice anyone in pain, panic, worry, anger, doubt or any other state that positions one in the fight or flight state.

Their breath is rapid and shallow, in the upper chest and the relative levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are way off balance.  Cortisol is flooding the system and the adrenals are in total overload. This condition of over breathing leads to too much oxygen and not enough carbon dioxide, an imbalance in the two gases.

Carbon dioxide is a natural sedative. Upper chest breathing precludes more breaths than necessary due to the need to stabilize the all-important healthy formula of the two gases.  It depletes the supply of carbon dioxide, which leads to possible hyperventilation and definite shortage of carbon dioxide.

This over breathing stresses the respiratory system which dominoes onto the nervous and adrenal systems.

Diaphragmatic breathing combined with a gentler and slower rate of breathing safeguards the optimum level of carbon dioxide.It definitely takes practice to breathe in the healthiest manner, from the diaphragm, after years of upper chest breathing. Along with all of the other bad habits garnered, one must realize that it will take time, perseverance and patience to make the change.

It is well worth the time and effort to do so as it is the key and door to the health and well being of the  body and spirit.

With regard and respect to your individual needs, health and history of well being, the following exercises may assist you in beginning the journey to better breathing to enhance your well being. Understand that similar to a change in any excessive or under done lifestyle habit the framework for a new holistic approach to breath work must be done in baby steps.

The diaphragm is a muscle and like any other muscle must be developed and built with care and awareness.

Sit comfortably in an undisturbed environment.  Begin by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.

Allow yourself to witness what your breathing process does to these two areas as you breathe comfortably and relaxed. Notice the area that rises first.   The stomach should rise first, followed by a  slight chest rise.

As you allow your body to breathe easily and permit the exhalation to be as natural as possible, you are permitting your breath to find it’s normal flow.

Your breath will then be conducive for the innate tranquilizer of carbon dioxide and will reverse the loss of the adequate amount of this sedative gas.

Attempt to practice this exercise for 10 to 15 minutes each day.  Acknowledge that you are rebuilding your breathing process that has been imbalanced for many moons.

If you feel that you are only comfortable practicing for a couple of minutes, than by all means stop and take baby steps.  Any effort will serve your state of well being.

Many people experience tiredness and want to sleep.  This is your body’s mechanism working towards wellness and providing the sleep and relaxation so sorely needed.

Once you get into the rhythm you will be able to use this exercise at night to put your body in a sleep state.  Practicing exhaling long and slowly provides the condition for adequate carbon dioxide storage.

Knowledge is power.  Knowing that diaphragmatic breathing is the healthiest choice and the science behind the balance of the inclusive gases gives us the incentive to change our breathing mechanism for the better.

The benefits of this discipline are too many to name along with the abundance of venues but suffice it to say of paramount noteworthiness.  Health, stress reduction, a cure for insomnia, spiritual growth,  meditation and prayer are just a few of the benefits of breath awareness and development.

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