Breathing is an essential part of our lives
Breathing is one of the very first things we learn to do when we are born. Babies take a breath of air just as they arrive into the world. They do it naturally, without being shown how. Later in life, we tend to be less aware of how important breathing is for our health and wellbeing, and we often do it wrong.
Breathing for your body
Breathing serves several purposes. With each inhale, we deliver oxygen to our body’s cells. With each exhale we remove the dangerous carbon dioxide out of our systems. Breathing also serves another purpose – together with moisture, it removes toxins from our bodies. Actually, by exhaling, you get rid of more toxins from your body than through your pores or during urination.
Breathing for your mind
Breathing is essential not only to simply survive. By breathing correctly, we can elevate our mood, increase our physical stamina, increase our mental clarity and reduce stress. That is why breathing exercises are such an important part of yoga and meditation, and can explain why we feel so good afterwards. It is also important to be aware of your breathing during other types of exercise, such as during running and aerobic exercise.
Breathe like a baby
You will probably be surprised to find out that observing a baby breathing may re-teach us how to do it properly! Many sources suggest to lay a baby on its back and compare the movement of its chest and belly area. A baby’s belly will be doing most of the movement, using its diaphragm.
How does it work?
Human nostrils have been designed to have small hairs, which are very effective in filtering the air that you breathe in, stopping dirt and dust from entering. Studies suggest that the lower parts of the lungs are most efficient at delivering oxygen, which makes chest breathing alone less beneficial to our bodies.
Breathing, how to do it right?
- Breathe through your nose, and exhale through your nose as well.
- Take deep breathes when possible, and make sure to exhale fully. The process of inhaling and exhaling are equally as important.
- Sit and stand straight at all times. Hunching over will decrease your diaphragms ability to move, and your lungs will not be able to fill up properly.
- Don’t take breathing for granted. Try some breathing exercises to learn if you are doing it correctly. Try lying on your back, with one hand over your belly and the other on your chest. You want to make sure that you see more movement in the hand covering your belly, not your chest. This will ensure that you are using your diaphragm, and filling your lungs to their full capacity.
- Be aware of how you breathe. Try to remind yourself about doing it properly, and soon the right way will become natural, again.