Before the Holidays begin and we all come together to celebrate..."Take a breath" Not all family and friends are on the same page with their beliefs and ideas. This is a re-post from a couple of years back which may help you through the next week and gently into a positive new habit.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Our bodies need oxygen to survive. Healthy blood plasma is at least 90% oxygen. Nothing happens anywhere in our bodies without oxygen. It is required in just about every chemical reaction, it ignites the activity in our cells. It is the spark of life for us. Over the next few weeks I am going be posting about the importance of oxygenation.
Breathing is an involuntary act. We don't think much about it, until we don't have it. Surfing for over 40 years, I have had my share of being pinned to bottom after being thrown off a wave or being held under what seemed like endless thick white water. Clawing my way to the top to get some much needed oxygen, just to be hit by another large wave and repeating the process. All you want is a deep breath of air.
Our breath helps us to gauge how comfortable or uncomfortable we are at that moment. When we are stressed, frightened or ill we tighten our bodies and breathe faster. When relaxed calm or happy we soften our bodies and our breathing slows. This why it is important to learn to slow our breathing and help ourselves to get as much oxygen as we can. Ancient yoga teaches us that we are given a certain amount of breaths for our individual life span. The slower we breath, the longer we live. This is not to say we shouldn't breathe heavy as in exercise or teaching our lungs to expand for more oxygen capacity. This means that when we know how to work with our breath, we can change our mood, manage panic attacks and even lower our blood pressure. Not only is breathing meditative and good for calming stress, it also improves brain and immune system function, cleanses our bodies of toxins and purifies our minds.
A simple way to start training our mind and body to slow the breathing is a method called 5-5-5-5. Start doing this in the morning upon waking. In a sitting position inhale slowly thru your nose on a count of 5, then hold your breath for a count of 5, slowly exhale thru your mouth, and finally count to 5 with no breathing at all(emptying your lungs). do this for 5-15 minutes per day. You can do this in the evening also to slowly unwind from your daily routine to prepare for a restful night.
Try this for a week and see how you feel.