Funny thing about breathing is that nobody thinks about it until it’s harder to do. Do you remember the last time you suffered a cold or flu, focused almost solely on trying to breathe for several days, and the ecstasy you felt when breathing finally returned?
I remember times of troubled breathing vividly. Difficulty with my breath has always made me extremely antsy. That’s why I can never relax when I’m stuffed up, and hardly sleep until my breathing finally returns. I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection between breath and overall health much sooner.
What’s normal breathing for you? Have you ever thought about how you actually breathe?
To be honest, I had really never thought about it. Except for obsessing over it while sick, I’d never studied the quality nor style of my breath at all. It wasn’t until I hit my late 40’s and my health gave way a little that I actually realized I wasn’t doing it right. It was then that I understood I probably hadn’t been breathing correctly all along.
Can you believe I didn’t know that my belly should actually rise when I breathe, not suck in as I was doing (cutting off my breath, but also my chi, energy, life force, and everything I was). I learned breathing into my head or into my throat was barely useful at all, and how I was probably contributing to episodes of dizziness and loss of balance I experienced every once in a while. I learned my whole body needed nourishing, not just my lungs, and not in that shallow way I was doing, that did little to satisfy my body’s craving for another generous dose of life-giving air.
Basically, in my 40’s, I finally learned how to breathe correctly.
And, geez, why doesn’t anyone teaching breathing while we’re young? Babies do it perfectly — have you watched an infant sleep? But, somewhere, proper breath is lost during childhood. I’m not sure when and how exactly, but shouldn’t this be taught? Or passed from generations, perhaps?
I can tell you for sure, breathing is certainly not something routinely taught in the western world. Which is why, after I learned, I made it a conscious part of the life curriculum I designed for my kids in our homeschool. I wanted to make sure they knew how to do it, too. I wanted to save them the nonsense I went through.
There are different kinds of breathing, different ways of breathing, and different habits we get in to with our breathing. Mostly unnoticed, the effects of this mindless activity can be very profound, indeed. I remember the “aha” moment I had sitting at my computer years ago, realizing the harder I focused, the less I seemed to be breathing for what seemed like long periods of time. Particularly when using email…for whatever reason, I found myself not breathing when I focused very hard. Thank goodness I caught and ended my own silly behavior. I have occasionally found myself scarcely breathing while driving my vehicle, too – almost as if in a trance!
So, when I learned about the art of breath, the way to take in air — not just to my head and throat – but all the way into my body, life began to change. I can now tell when I’m not breathing enough, not cleansing, not releasing, not relaxing, not nourishing myself in the ways that only breath can do. So, I correct it.
An eye-opener for me was the science behind proper breathing. Did you know that breathing alone may reduce stress, pain, inflammation, chronic health conditions, and more? Did you know folks who do not breathe correctly may suffer conditions like asthma, allergies, skin conditions and more? Breathing helps reduce anxiety, depression, stress and emotional states we sometimes aren’t even aware of. And people who breathe through their mouths may even have different face shapes and unevenly toned muscles in the face? Surprising, right? I didn’t know either.
Paying attention to my breath has helped me in ways I am maybe not even aware. I will say, however, I feel like a different person when I remember to breathe, and when I do it right. I am instantly more relaxed, more focused, and more clear thinking. I honestly feel my breath now has a positive impact on my overall health.
I’m sharing this with you in case you’d never thought about your breath, either. Treat yourself to a book, video or exercise to learn the kind of breathing that works for well for you, at different times of the day. Start by looking in book stores, or have another listen to your favorite meditation tapes, talk to a yoga teacher, or see a natural health practitioner for breathing advice.
To your good health,
As a coach, writer, recovered over-doer and busyness addict, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle while the mind tries to sabotage your success. In my journey to vibrant health, I created a personalized health system of nutrition and supplementation, lifestyle changes, and I retrained my mind and the energy of my body. I view my success as the formula to my happy, healthy life. I now empower other women to create their own personalized formulas, including the tools and strategies just right for them! Amazing life shifts come from our relationships. I look forward to helping you, too!