We all search for ways to improve our health – from exercise regimes, dieting fads, taking vitamins and other expensive ways to increase our energy levels. But most people don’t even know how they can access some natural and free resources that will produce a significant positive impact to our every day lives.
When you think about it, our bodies are made up of trillions of cells – the basic building blocks of all living things. All of these cells have very specific functions within the body such as building tissues to form organs, transporting nutrients, oxygen and blood in our system, and the storing and communicating with other cells in the body, plus much more.
As every cell in your body needs oxygen to function, imagine what would happen if there wasn’t sufficient fuel to allow them to work in the most efficient way. It would be like a vehicle running on fumes, or even like attempting to run a marathon without eating a healthy breakfast and drinking plenty of fluids. There just wouldn’t be enough energy produced within the body to carry out these basic functions in an optimal way.
Today we live in a modern society that has a very stressful and fast-paced environment. People tend to have very shallow breathing, which exacerbates the problems of fatigue, anxiety and other physical and emotional conditions. The power of the breath can help you to improve many of the underlying issues that we all strive to correct and maintain for positive health and well being. Many ancient civilisations practiced the art of breathing, such as Pranayama from India, Qi Gong breathing from China, Kemenic Yoga breathing from Egypt, to name a few. Although each culture seems to adopt their own deep breathing techniques, the fundamental principles are all the same.
Abdominal breathing, or belly breathing, is the key to being able to gain the benefits of the way our bodies were meant to inhale and exhale. Without the sufficient oxygen intake into our lungs, and thus into our cells, our blood wouldn’t contain enough fuel. This may cause symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, coughing, and decreased focus. This would in severe cases, then lead to possible heart and lung conditions – the body just wouldn’t work properly.
With the regular practice of deep breathing (again, which is free and simple to do), the benefits can be immediate and range from:
- Removes stress and anxiety
- Calms the body and mind
- Feel more energised
- Improves digestion
- Elevates mood
- Regulates weight
- Enhances cardiovascular capacity
- Healthier organs
- Better sleep
How to do Abdominal Breathing
1) Sit comfortably, with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. If possible, you should connect the tip of your tongue upwards just past the roof of your mouth until you reach the soft fleshy part (your palette). You’ll almost feel like your tongue is curling backwards. With practice this becomes easier to do and really increases the flow of energy within your body.
2) Place your hand on your just below your ribcage and above your belly button. This will help you to feel your diaphragm move with your breath.
3) Slowly inhale through your nose in a smooth flowing and unforced breath. You should feel your diaphragm fill up with air as the hand on your abdominals rises outwards. Do this for six counts.
4) After six counts, your lungs should be filled with air. Do not exhale yet and hold at full breath retention for three counts.
6) After exhaling for six counts, you should now be at empty retention. Hold for three counts.
7) Repeat steps 1 to 6 for at least 5 minutes.
Personally, I have adopted the deep abdominal breathing technique as a regular and normal part of my every day routine. My tongue is almost permanently connected to my palette and my breath is deep, slow and steady throughout the day. My energy levels have never been greater and I feel most, if not all of the benefits that are listed above.
But again, don’t take my word for it. Why not try doing this yourself – it’s free, it’s easy and you’ll feel better on so many levels. Why wouldn’t you you want to live the way we were meant to, and feel better for it?