Breathing – The Essential Life Force
The first and last thing we do in life is breathe. Breathing is the difference
between life and death. It is the single most important thing that you do in
life and it is the single most valuable thing you have or will ever have.
Breathing, eating, drinking and sleeping are the four essentials of life. Of
the four, breathing is the one that God did not give you much control
over. It’s far too essential. You can make bad choices about sleeping,
eating and drinking and you can survive for some time without them, but
you can only survive for a few minutes without breathing!
Considering how immensely important it is, you can only wonder why we
know so little about it or why we pay so little attention to it. Some people
hardly breathe down into their neck. Many take miserly little breaths that
hardly move the lungs. Very few of us breathe into the abdominal area.
Ideally, each breath should empty and refill your lungs with every
exhalation and inhalation. Inhalation brings in oxygen and exhalation
releases carbon dioxide and other gases.
Air is abundant and free, but we all act as if we were on an ‘Oxygen
Budget’. There is no vitamin, mineral, medicine, exercise or medical
procedure that will ever come close to having the health giving and life
saving benefits of air. Many are searching for the great elixir of life. Many
of us spend fortunes on new products or services that promise better
health or longevity. We read magazines or research papers to find new
cures or life enhancing products, but very rarely do we use our own
common sense and natural resources.
We hear a lot about the health benefits of aerobic exercise. But did you
realize that the greatest benefit of aerobic exercise is not so much the
movement (although very beneficial and important) but from the deeper,
Pumping in all of that oxygen is where the health benefits come from.
Many people cannot do aerobic exercises. Yet these are the very people
who vitally need the additional oxygen. Well, it’s so easy - simply breathe.
Even an invalid can lie in bed and breathe deeply and slowly. If they did
this for a few weeks, they would be amazed by the healing power and
increased energy they would obtain.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I will state right now that you don’t hear
about the benefits of breathing because no one has yet worked out a
way of marketing it. There’s no money in selling the concept of breathing.
Imagine the fortune that could be made if advertisers had a product that
improved the immune system, normalized blood pressure, lowered
cholesterol, improved circulation, decreased or eliminated pain, reduced
inflammation, increased mental well-being, decreased or eliminated
depression and anxiety, reduced wrinkles and gave the skin and eyes a
clear radiance, fought bacteria, viruses and parasites, removed toxins
and gases from the body, increased energy and improved digestion and
Let me inspire you to further explore what could be the single most
important knowledge you will ever acquire; totally free, with no hidden
agenda. Breathing will cost you nothing. It does not require time. You can
breathe while watching television, lying in bed, travelling to work,
absolutely anywhere and anytime.
The only place I do not recommend deep breathing is in a steam filled
environment, i.e., not in the bath or shower as water often has chlorine
and other chemicals in it.
I believe that the most effective research comes from trying something
yourself in order to prove its validity. Absolutely no harm can come from
breathing. I truly believe that if you simply breathe deeply and slowly for
at least 30 minutes a day, you will have amazing results.
Many health problems are caused, or maintained by prolonged stress.
Healing is impaired by stress. Pain is increased or prolonged by stress.
Breathing deeply reduces stress, but more importantly it prevents stress
from building and adding to itself. A person who is already stressed will
easily becomes more stressed without any real provocation. We all know
people who ‘fly off the handle’ at the most insignificant things or in an
irrational way, not because of any real provocation, but simply because
they are on stress overload.
Regular deep breathing minimizes stress. In the long term you will find
that the more relaxed you are the less likely it is that little things will
Deep breathing also relaxes muscles. A lot of back, neck and stomach
pain is frequently caused by muscles being squeezed so tightly that over
time the areas become painful. In some cases, the body permanently
takes on the shape of the tension, such as hunched shoulders and facial
wrinkles. Stomach and bowel problems are often the result of habitually
squeezing or tensing the muscles in these areas.
The immune system needs oxygen to function effectively. The immune
system is a huge chemical factory. All the doctors, scientists and
pharmacists in the world do not have the intelligence of the immune
system. When it comes to your body, this is the army of all armies. It will
work hard to capture, kill and destroy any invader, such as bacteria,
viruses, allergens, parasites and yeast infections.
Correct breathing helps to prevent premature aging and degenerative
diseases. The best beauty treatment available is breathing. Just look at
your skin and eyes after doing aerobic exercise.
Deep breathing reduces pain. Anyone who has experienced childbirth
can vouch for that. Thank goodness most birthing institutions now
practice breath therapy. Knowing this, I wonder why they do not
encourage these breathing techniques in more pain related treatments.
Most people believe we get most of our energy from food, but this not so.
It is estimated that as much as 75% of our physical and mental energy is
provided by oxygen. People often take great care with their nutritional
needs, adding vitamins, minerals and all sorts of health promoting
products. Without effective breathing, your digestive system cannot fully
metabolise many of these additives. A large percentage of these
additives are not absorbed or transported throughout your body. Many of
us think that toxins and waste products are eliminated via our skin,
bowels and bladder; we forget that a vast amount of our elimination is via
Deep breathing greatly influences emotions and general well-being. With
deep breathing, we can calm ourselves when in a state of anxiety or fear.
To the other extreme, you have probably either experienced or at least
heard of ‘runner's-high’. Runner's high is a term for a phenomenon
wherein a person experiences a state of bliss and an enormous surge of
physical energy. Runner’s- high does not come from running. It comes
from maximizing oxygen input and carbon dioxide and other gas output.
Many religious and philosophical practices use breath therapy to bring a
richer or more enlightened state of mind. In recent years, the western
world has adopted many of these principles. Breathing techniques are
used to calm the mind and focus your attention on the greater wisdom of
your own body and mind. Your instincts become stronger and your
thinking becomes clearer. Many people experience a deeper sense of
mind, body and spiritual well-being.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Rebirthing and Buteyko techniques are becoming
mainstream because they work. Buteyko breathing is becoming popular
as word spreads of its effectiveness in treating, among other things:
asthma, sinus problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, emphysema,
depression and arthritis.
Rebirthing focuses on releasing emotional blockages. Initially, it should
be tried only with the aid of an experienced practitioner. It is a very fast
and powerful way of freeing up past emotional traumas. Many people find
the technique immensely valuable and liberating, experiencing great joy
and release. If you believe you have a lot of emotional ‘stuff”, then I
would suggest first trying something a little gentler like Yoga or Tai Chi,
as they both also release emotional blockages, but in a slower and
Yoga and Tai Chi use breathing and movement. They are excellent ways
of increasing energy, reducing stress, and stretching, strengthening and
I am not endorsing or promoting any particular technique. You should
consider seeking further information elsewhere if you feel that you would
like to explore these options.
I am highly recommending that you try deep, long, slow breathing as a
daily exercise to improve health and well-being, release stress, and re-
energise your mind and body. Give it at least two weeks and make up
your own mind by experiencing the benefits.
(Copyright Sonya Green)
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