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The Good Stuff
Article
Breathing Deeply
by B. A. Llewellyn
Length:  977 words

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Breathing Deeply is the powerfully natural path to good health and happiness

Breathing Deeply
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Breathing Deeply

Question: How many times do we breathe in and out during 24 hours?

Answer: Approximately 20,000 times.

The Breath of Life

Everyday, each of us breathes approximately twenty thousand times.  We will take approximately a hundred million breaths before we stop breathing.  Breathing is so important and pivotal to our survival that not breathing means we are dead.  Such an important function should be respected and glorified, but most of us barely even notice it.  We just assume it's natural to breathe properly and leave it at that.

It does seem logical to assume our bodies will ensure we breathe in the correct and most beneficial manner.  It seems logical as long as we don't include all the restrictions we place on our bodies.  We know our bodies start out breathing correctly.  It's what happens after that that causes the problems.

Natural Ability

Most of us are born with the ability to breathe deeply and well.  Watch a happy baby breathing to witness the true art of breathing deeply.  We naturally breathe in and out in a rhythmic flow, completely filling our lungs and completely releasing leftover toxins.

Our bodies are born specifically designed to fill our lungs with our in-breath, and then spend slightly longer breathing out.  The longer out-breath ensures the removal of toxins.  We are supposed to be discharging 70% of our body's toxins through breathing.  When we don't, which is most of the time, other parts of our body have to start working overtime to fulfil the same function.  This over-exertion can mean an earlier breakdown of those same body parts.

Most of us regularly have stale air sitting in the base of our lungs, often for days at a time, due to our restricted breathing.

The habit of breathing badly usually begins in childhood.  We breathe fully and naturally when we are babies but by the time we reach our twenties, we are breathing in and out in a decidedly constricted manner.

Hold Your Breath

Every time we are taught to hold back our thoughts and feelings, we are being taught to breathe in a constricted manner.  Rather than learning to breathe into our pains and emotions and release them, we are usually taught to "suck it in" and hold onto our concerns.  Our bodies start to continually tense in certain places.  Every individual body has its own preferences for storage of tension, and every tension in our bodies is a constriction on our breathing.

Over time, and consistent constrictions, we breathe less and less.  We no longer use our lungs to their full capacity.  We become shallow breathers.

Tension is the main cause for shallow breathing.  Tensions accumulate, over time, throughout our bodies and minds, restricting our muscles and joints.

Tension

Everyday we gain more tensions.  If we do nothing about releasing those tensions, they accumulate and keep us in a perpetual state of stress.

This stress is amplified by our inadequate breathing.  Shallow breathing means less oxygen is circulating throughout our bodies.  It also means more carbon dioxide and toxins are accumulating in our systems.

Most adults only use a third of their lung's capacity.  We take shallow breaths in, and then neglect to breathe out fully.  Many people have stale air stagnating in their lungs for days before finally releasing a full out-breath.

Shallow breathing is not good for us.  It makes us cranky, and slow witted and saps our confidence.  It stuns our strength and it depletes our health.  It takes away our self-esteem and sharp minds.  It drugs us with toxins and compromises our immune systems.

Common is not Natural

Short, shallow breaths mean more short shallow breaths are needed to achieve sufficient oxygen intake.  Shallow breathers need to breathe more often to make up for the lack of depth in their air consumption.  Their breathing is more relatively rapid, but it is still shallow.  They rarely get around to filling up more than the top third of their lungs, and they rarely expel all the stale air that has settled to the bottom of their lungs.

Shallow breathing is extremely common, yet it is detrimental to our health in a most fundamental way.  It greatly reduces the amount of oxygen in our bloodstream but fails to reduce the level of carbon dioxide.  Our bodies are not meant to work under those conditions.

An excess of carbon dioxide in our bloodstream causes a constriction of the blood vessels throughout the entire body.  Our brains, and everywhere else in our bodies, receive less oxygen than is needed for optimum physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

We Are How We Breathe

The way we breathe affects our entire physical, mental, emotional and spiritual structure.

Shallow breaths only fill the top third of the lungs, where there is the least amount of blood flow.  The rate of blood-flow in the top third of our lungs is less than a tenth of a litre per minute.

The rate of blood-flow for the bottom of our lungs is well over a litre per minute.  The bottom of the lungs, where we are blood-flow rich, can only be reached with a deep, full breath.

Tension and time teach us to create an unnatural, but very powerful habit of shallow breathing.  It is not an easy habit to break.  Like any long term bad habit, it requires patience and persistence to replace the negative with the positive.

Fortunately, because The Art of Breathing Deeply is a natural skill, it is well within all of our capabilities.  It is "simple" for us.  It merely needs to be practiced into a habit ... in exactly the same way we learnt the art-of-breathing-badly.

Every day we need to give our self the gift of life and happiness, and practise breathing deeply.  The more we practise, the more oxygen and self-esteem  we will be giving our body and mind.

 Sunset Sail
Sunset Sail
Romanello, Diane
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