Oxygen plays a crucial role in the body. Without oxygen, there is no life. When you breathe, oxygen is inhaled through the lungs and helps to eliminate toxins in the body.
Research has shown that deep breathing not only assists in physiological conditions of the body, it also can help to alleviate psychological disorders such as: anxiety, depression and stress.
The Science of Breath
Every single cell of your body needs oxygen to survive. Proper breathing helps carry nutrients and oxygen through your bloodstream and into your body’s capillaries.
This will also enable a healthy lymphatic system to remove destructive toxins.
Regular breathing is important to regulate your lymphatic system. If your lymphatic system is depressed due to lack of oxygen, the following health concerns can exist:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle loss
- Weight gain
- Inflammation in the body
When you breathe naturally, your diaphragm contracts and expands. This movement will help to keep your lymph system healthy. Breathing exercises can give your body an added boost, while helping to arm you with tried-and-true methods of self-preservation that have been around for centuries.
Many people take breathing for granted. By understanding the importance of the simple act of breathing exercises and practicing them regularly, you’ll know why. Many cultures consider breath as the essence of being.
Abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, helps to expand your lungs and improves blood flow in your body. Your diaphragm is a large muscle between the abdomen and your chest. Your abdomen expands when the diaphragm contracts; this forces air into your lungs.
To perform abdominal breathing, practice the following exercise:
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose, so that the hand on your stomach rises higher than the hand on your chest.
- Exhale through your mouth slowly to a count of five, and gently contract your abdominal muscles, so that the remaining air departs from your lungs.
- Repeat this slow, controlled breathing 8 to 10 times and try to concentrate on each breath.
This technique can be used to help you wake up when you are feeling fatigued;
- Start in a seated position with your mouth closed and breathe in and out of your nose as quickly as possible.
- As you breathe, you will feel it in your neck, chest and abdomen. These areas will strengthen over time from this exercise.
- Perform this rapid breathing exercise for 10 seconds and gradually increase it until you feel more comfortable. Be aware that there is a risk of hyperventilating from this exercise at first. So start slowly.
This diaphragmatic breathing exercise requires you to have a partner, so grab your breathing buddy and go to work:
- Lie on your back and have your partner put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
- As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing into your partners hand on your belly. Once this hand is full, continue breathing into the hand that is on your chest.
- Excel through the abdomen and chest simultaneously. This will allow for a rhythmic rolling effect between the stomach and chest.
This exercise combines the positive effect of controlled breathing with pleasant mental images:
- Lie on your back and begin practicing abdominal breathing.
- Imagine with each incoming breath, a white warm energy is flowing into your body. Take a brief moment, to imagine this breath as a source of healing energy.
- As you exhale, think of the outgoing breath as letting go of any frustration, anger, pain, or negative emotion.
- Start from a seated position with your back straight.
- Sigh deeply and let out a sound of relief as the oxygen departs from your lungs.
- As new air comes into your lungs, repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding when or how many times you need to practice these breathing exercises. Just remember to find the time to do them and try to keep a consistent breathing routine as part of your daily activities.