From the moment you are born to the moment you die you have to breathe. We take Breathing for granted, no one teaches you how to breathe. Just like singing and dancing, there are some who are good at it and some who are not so good. We have lessons for those who want to teach, and those who want to learn.
What we need to be aware of is that every thought, word, or action has to be synchronized with our breath. When we observe nature, we learn that those creatures that breathe fast have a short life span compared with those creatures that have a slower rhythm of breathing.
The average person breathes 21,600 times in 24 hours. This is 900 breaths an hour, 15 a minute, and one breathe every 4 seconds. Every breath we save goes to prolong our life.
In Yoga, the art of breathing is known as Pranayama. Here we learn that the mouth is for eating and tasting, whereas the nostrils are for smelling and breathing. When your nose is blocked your can not smell, and if you cannot smell, the chances are you cannot taste.
The nostrils are connected to nadis, which are channels of breathing. In Yoga they are called the Ida and Pingala nadis. The right nostril represents, the element fire and ruled by the Sun, and the Left, represents the element water, and the Moon. The other miracle of nature is that the nostrils control the body temperature. When we breathe through the right nostril it raises the internal body temperature, and when we breathe through the left, our body temperature is lowered.
It is rare to find both nostrils equally opened. This is because as the body temperature falls, the left nostril gradually closes allowing less air to go through, whilst at the same time, the right nostril remains fully opened allowing more air into the body, resulting in a rise in body temperature. The opposite is true when the body temperature needs to be lowered when we are hot.
We know that the lungs are divided into three sections; The upper, middle and lower regions. When we do thoracic breathing, the air is directed into the upper regions of the Lungs and it’s known as a shallow breath. In Yoga, we practice to breath slowly through the nostrils, directing the breath into the lower abdomen, the region below the Navel. By doing this, it enables us to draw more air and perform what is known as the complete breath. This allows you to fill all 3 regions of the lungs. To achieve this the breath must be slow, rhythmic and deliberate.
With each breath we take, 20% of the air is oxygen, and 80% nitrogen. The oxygen is used to oxygenate the blood and carry nutrients around the body resulting in revitalizing and repairing, and with each exhalation the body gets rid of the water and carbon dioxide, resulting in cleansing.
Although the body needs oxygen, oxygen causes constrictions, oxidation, and free radical damage in a similar way to what happens to metal when exposed to air, causing rust, and over a period becomes brittle and disintegrates.
Free radical damage is one of the main reasons for ageing in the body. The less oxygen we demand the longer we live. This is why people who live in high altitude generally have a longer life span.
My approach to Anti-aging is a proper diet, breathing exercises along with yoga, meditation, earthing,gazing which I include in my Classes.
In Yoga we are taught to breathe slower and rhythmically which has a relaxing effect on the body and promotes healthy brain waves. (E.g. Alpha and Theta brain waves to relax, and Beta brain waves for adrenaline, activity and energy production). This can also be encouraged by slow rhythmic breathing whilst listening to music composed to effect the production of these brainwaves.
We can also promote healing in the body through controlled breathing. Imagine with each breath that you are not only taking in Oxygen and nitrogen but also, ‘Prana’ otherwise know as 'Chi' or the ‘Universal Life force’. Where you direct your mind in the body, Prana will flow, where Prana is present, blood will flow, where there is blood, there will be nutrients resulting in repairs and healing. Such is the power of thought and positive thinking.
In Yoga, similar to the Martial Arts, we are thought to concentrate on the breath and life force, and direct it to various parts of the body where bamboo sticks and concrete slabs can be broken, or iron rods bent and moulded. Here we see Prana or Chi in action. Never underestimate what can be achieved through controlled breathing and the power of thought.
The average person not only breathes through the mouth, but breathes into the Chest. If you watch, most adults breathe into the Lungs, you see their chest expand and contract. When you watch an infant breathe, you will notice it’s the abdomen that inflates and deflates with each breath. In Yoga, this is the proper way to breathe. Practicing abdominal breathing encourages the mind to be focused, and the body is centralised. Thoracic breathing is shallow breathing, whereas abdominal breathing is deeper. By this I mean you can take 2 to 3 times more air, with each breath, bringing strength into the muscles and along with Yoga exercises, it encourages the muscles to be more elastic, resulting in stamina.
On the whole, Women live longer than Men, one rule of thought is because women have more stamina, whereas men have more strength. When we indulge in demonstrating Strength, our body can only do it for a short while, whereas with Stamina, the activity can be preformed over a much longer period.
To develop undulating muscles it shortens your life span, and when you elasticate your muscles you will have more stamina and encourage your body to live longer. This is my view, and I would like to have an update from anyone who has carried out clinical tests to this effect.
When you visit a spiritual Healer, you find that a lot of thought is on the breathing. Beautiful music, ambience of the room, and special aromas enhance the effects. This is also adopted in the Churches and Temples when hymns are sung, and candles are lit along with burning incense. All this affects the way we breathe and think in those surroundings, they go hand in hand. Take a thought, and breathe knowingly.