Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercises

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    The biggest beauty thief and ager of all is the stress our minds try to endure day in and day out.

    A classic sign of the stress response is shallow, crazy-fast breathing. That’s why the opposite—deep, slow breathing—is such an effective way to calm yourself down. It can help you halt a stress reaction, or at least control it. Plus, it shifts the body’s balance of carbon dioxide-to-oxygen in favor of energizing oxygen. Remember, carbon dioxide is a waste product, whereas your cells and systems need a constant supply of fresh oxygen to stay alive and work efficiently. Oxygen is arguably the most vital nutrient for the body; we would die within minutes without it. The integrity of the brain, nerves, glands, and internal organs depends on oxygen, and any shortage in supply will have a profound impact on the entire body—inside and out.

    The lymphatic system, too, gets a serious boost from deep breathing. Lymph is a clear fluid filled with immune cells that moves around the body in a series of vessels. It delivers nutrients and collects cellular waste while helping to destroy pathogens, including those that can downgrade your skin health. The deeper you breathe, the more you can achieve this effect. While the heart is the pump for the vascular system, the lymphatic system has no built-in pump, so it relies on your breathing and physical movement to get around the body. It has long been known that exercise stimulates this movement of lymphatic fluid, but the role of breathing wasn’t entirely recognized until scientists found a way to photograph lymph flow. This is how they observed that deep breathing causes the lymph to gush through the lymphatic vessels.

    It’s empowering to know that something as simple (and free) as breathing can be a powerful tool to build beauty and sustain health.

    From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered

    Pranic breathing delivers tremendous physiological and energetic benefits. The primary physiological benefits are:

    -improved functioning of your waste-removal system;
    -improved functioning of your cardiovascular system;
    -a stronger, more supple diaphragm, which is good for your whole body and mind.

    The primary energetic benefits include:

    -an increased capacity for generating high-quality prana;
    -indirect clearing of negative emotions, traumas, and limiting beliefs;
    -an increase in the size of your spiritual cord. (Your spiritual cord is a thread that attaches your crown chakra to your higher self or soul. It is also the primary valve through which congested or dirty prana is expelled from the energy body and fresh prana is drawn into the energy body. Dirty prana, however, in addition to contaminating your overall energetic body, shrinks the diameter of your spiritual cord because it clogs this valve. Pranic breathing draws in a great amount of high-quality prana, which cleans out this valve and expands the size of your spiritual cord.)
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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered

    The best way to get past the crosses that you've unwittingly decided to bear is by breathing. It's that simple. When we practice breathing, we increase our ability to enjoy life.

    What deep breathing does is retrain your nervous system to tolerate a higher charge of energy. If you practice it with any sort of regularity, you will find that you can feel good practically all the time. It'll be the crosses that don't feel natural. That's why most spiritual traditions of the world encourage their devotees to practice breathing. People's faiths are strengthened when they feel good.

    Experts tell us we could be breathing in seventeen pints of air per breath. Most of us settle for a measly two or three. Now, I don't know about you, but if somebody gave me the choice of one or two chocolate chip cookies or seventeen chocolate chip cookies, especially with the guarantee that the more I ate, the more weight I'd lose, I'd go for the seventeen. Go for the breath.

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    Breathing deeply will help prevent a respiratory infection following knee replacement surgery. Take deep breaths every hour until you are back to your usual level of activity. Use a spirometer if you were given one in the hospital.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Breathing is something we don't think about very much because it's automatic, but it is actually a very important component of any exercise routine. If you have nothing to drink, you can survive for several days. If you have nothing to eat, you can survive for several weeks. But if you don't have oxygen, you can't survive for more than a few minutes. One of the most common mistakes people make while exercising is that they don't breathe correctly or they don't breathe at all. This can be the source of fatigue and overexertion. And this can result in shortness of breath and a painful stitch in your side, which can cause you to stop exercising all together. And worse, it can cause your blood pressure to rise.

    When you breathe correctly, you get enough oxygen in your system to increase your circulation and get the blood flowing to every part of your body, including the brain. That makes it easier for the brain to release the neurotransmitters that boost both your mood and your energy. If you're breathing properly during exercise, you will probably make an audible grunting or whooshing noise as you breathe in and out.
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    To do belly breathing, follow these steps: While lying flat in your bed, place both palms on your abdomen with your thumbs above your navel. Breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs. You should feel your hands rising as your lungs expand. Help your diaphragm by pushing your stomach out while you inhale. Slowly exhale through your mouth while tightening all of your abdominal muscles as tight as you can, pressing your spine to the bed. You should feel your hands drop down. Keep your chest and shoulders from moving. Practice for 5 minutes once per hour during your stay in bed. This allows your lungs to fill to capacity and get rid of carbon dioxide and other toxins that build up in your lungs. It also will help reduce stress and strengthen your stomach.

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    Psychologically, breathing can help during exercise in many ways. Breathing has been found to relax tense muscles, lower heart rate, relax the mind, and used as a distracter from pain or negative thoughts. You can also redirect your thoughts or your energy by taking notice of negative thoughts or behaviors, taking a breath and then redirecting your thoughts or behaviors into something more positive.
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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered

    Although the link between breathing and universal energy is more readily apparent in Oriental mind-body traditions, there is a Western esoteric breathing tradition, as well. It is even evident in our language. Consider the words inspire and expire, for instance. We use inspire today to refer to the act of motivating or encouraging ourselves or someone else to achieve an extraordinary goal, or to create something new and wonderful. But the word inspire comes from two Latin words: in (in) and spirare (to breathe). Spirare, in turn, is related to the Latin spirit. Thus, the word inspire was used in older times to indicate that someone was “breathing in spirit,” or drawing in divine energy. Most frequently, it referred to an artist who was seeking guidance on the creative process, or a holy man seeking energy for prayer or healing.

    The primary definition of expire today denotes the end of a period of time - for instance, the completion of a politician’s time in office (term expired), or the date beyond which a food product is no longer safe to eat (expiration date). But we also use the word to connote the end of life: A person who has expired has breathed out his last breath. As the breath leaves, so does the life force.
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    What will deep breathing get you?

    A lot, actually. For one, it helps transport nitric oxide -- a very potent lung and blood vessel dilator (expander) that resides in your nasal passages -- to your lungs. It makes your lungs and blood vessels function better. Taking deep breaths also gets more oxygen into your lungs. And it helps improve the drainage of your lymphatic system, which removes toxins from your body. It also helps in stress relief. Slow, rhythmic, deep breathing acts as a mini meditation. Shifting to slower breathing in times of tension can help calm you and allow you to perform, mentally and/or physically, at higher levels.

    In Chinese medicine, lungs are considered the orchestra conductor of the entire body -- they set the rhythm that everything else follows. That's why yoga instructors spend so much time teaching proper ways to breathe -- to put the whole body in balance.

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    Mindfulness breathing is a simple strategy to begin developing mindfulness skills. The act of practicing mindfulness can be challenging; the key is practice, practice, practice.

    Start by bringing your attention to your breathing.

    Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air to fill your lower belly.

    Then, breathe out through your mouth. Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.

    Continue the breathing exercise for a while. Then, begin to broaden your focus by noticing thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise in the moment.

    Notice each thought or sensation as it arises, without judging it good or bad and without pursuing it (letting it become a center focus, in other words).

    If you become distracted, return focus to your breathing and then expand your awareness again.