Breath is LIFE
Yoga – The Fountain of Youth
by Lolly Miller
After reading this… I don’t think anyone will say, “I don’t have enough time to breathe efficiently through my nose”. There are serious benefits for you if you do… and you may experience serious consequences if you do not!
So as not to lose your attention before this discussion even begins… I will tell you that the following information will have you out in the world huffing and puffing in a wild frenzy. Another upside to this information is that the product in question is free to all. Well… sort of free. We all need to maintain a healthy and thriving planet in order that there will be plenty of this lovely, life restoring product… this product called AIR. Yep… Air! There is plenty of it… enough for everyone. I know that your, “hey wait a minute” monitor has kicked in. You are probably thinking to yourself…”Pffuuft”… about right now but if you will hang in there with me, you will find that it isn’t enough to just breath in and out. While that kind of everyday, in and out breathing is enough to sustain life… it isn’t enough to fill the whole body with the magical properties of air…. this property is called oxygen. Because I’m writing this article… and no one can stop me from “blowing my own horn” (Get it? It’s an Air joke!)… I’m going to go ahead and say it. At the age of way past 50… and just before sixty, I am crazy strong and healthy. I have tons of vitality, energy, and mental acuity. I can still shimmy a pole… HA! My medical test records are the most telling evidence in all of this. NO osteoporosis, very LOW bad cholesterol/very HIGH good cholesterol, low blood pressure, healthy body weight, no depression/very happy here… I never catch colds or flus and because it is also pertinent, I will add that I eat a very clean, plant based diet. I could go on but I am a lot more compassionate than I am modest, so I will spare you.
The Benefits of Deep Breathing
I can’t imagine that there is anything on this list that would seem unimportant. Many of us spend a great deal of money on supplements to accomplish these health benefits… and, there is question as to whether supplements can be used effectively by the body.
1. Improvement in the blood quality due to its increased oxygenation in the lungs. This aids in the elimination of toxins from the system.
2. Increase in the digestion and assimilation of food. The digestive organs such as the stomach receives more oxygen and operates more efficiently.
3. Central nervous system health. This includes the brain, spinal cord, nerve centers and nerves. This is due again to the increased oxygenation and nourishment of the nervous system. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.
4. This is a biggy! Rejuvenation of the glands, especially the pituitary and pineal glands. The brain has a special affinity for oxygen, requiring three times more oxygen than does the rest of the body. This has far-reaching effects on our well being.
a. Rejuvenation of the skin. The skin becomes smoother and a reduction of facial wrinkles occurs.
b. The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the abdominal organs – the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. This stimulates the blood circulation in these organs. Wow… right?
c. The lungs become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems. (I was asked to blow into a device at my last check-up… I registered so high in my breathing capacity that they made me take it again thinking there was an error! Ha! I blew ever higher the second time which … I’ll admit it… was just showing off!)
d. Deep, slow yoga breathing reduces the workload for the heart. The result is a more efficient, stronger heart that operates better and lasts longer. It also mean reduced blood pressure and less heart disease.
e. The yoga breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. First, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Think about this. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.
f. Deep, slow breathing assists in weight control. If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands. In other words, yoga tends to produce the ideal weight for you. How about that!
g. Relaxation of the mind and body. Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing causes a reflex stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which results in a reduction in the heart rate and relaxation of the muscles. These two factors cause a reflex relaxation of the mind, since the mind and body are very interdependent. In addition, oxygenation of the brain tends to normalize brain function, reducing excessive anxiety levels.
The Value of Breath
Breath has two very specific functions. First, is to fill and supply our bodies and all its various organs with oxygen… which is the essence of our survival as a living organ. The second function… is to rid the body of waste and toxins. The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If it doesn’t get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts, depression and eventually, vision and hearing loss. Older people can experience dementia due to clogged arteries… which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. Happily… many of these malaffects can be reduced… sometimes eliminated, when a body is healthy and supplied with adequate oxygen. The body and mind just plain get older faster without adequate oxygen and nutrition. When circulation of oxygen is reduced, the heart is deprived of adequate oxygen and a heart attack is often the result. If this occurs to the brain, the result is a stroke. Many also consider that a lack of oxygen is a major cause of cancer. When there is not enough oxygen in the system to invigorate the cells the result is often cell damage, leaving the cell vulnerable to cancer and disease.
After reading this I am sure you will agree that lifestyle changes, which keep the body rich with oxygen, are a small price to pay when considering the alternatives. Oxygen is very critical to our well-being and any effort to increase the supply of oxygen to our body and brain will be well worth the effort. Yogis have been aware of the importance of an adequate oxygen supply for millenniums. They developed and perfected various breathing techniques. These breathing exercises are particularly important for people who have sedentary jobs and spend most of the day in offices. Their brains are oxygen starved and their bodies are just surviving on the little oxygen reserve it is receiving. This oxygen deprivation leaves them feeling tired, nervous and grumpy. Adding insult to injury, their sleep is negatively affected due to the low levels of oxygen in their bodies. All of these things lower the immune system, making one susceptible to catching colds, flu, etc.
How to Get More Oxygen into the Bodying
Yoga Breath! Breathing Through the Nose
Seriously… this is the cure!
The first rule for correct breathing is that we should breathe through the nose. This may seem obvious, but many people breathe principally through the mouth. Mouth breathing can adversely affect the development of the thyroid gland and negatively affect cognitive development.
The nose has various defense mechanisms to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body. There are small hair filters, mucous membranes and glands in the inner nose which help fight off bacteria.
The yogis believe that the nose functions with the absorption of prana (energy) from the air. If you breathe through the mouth all the time you are cheating yourself of all this free energy. The yogis say this is a major factor in lowered disease resistance, as it impairs the functioning of your vital glands and nervous system.
Yogic breathing exercises cause an increase in the elasticity of the lungs and rib cage. This creates an increased breathing capacity all day (remember the breathing test where the doctor made me repeat the test?) not just during the actual exercise period. The more you practice deep breathing the more improved your breathing capacity is all of the time.
The fortunate among us, are given at birth a miraculous body machine. When we use it improperly it responds as would be expected… by functioning poorly and in worse case scenario… by breaking down completely. There is so much we can do, life we can enjoy, by simply learning to love and respect our bodies. Life is a lovely gift to be enjoyed and shared. I am so glad to be here with all of you Beautiful Yogis… to enjoy this amazing life within this beautiful community; a community that Ali had the vision to build for the benefit of all who wish to participate. For all of these things… and many, many others, I am so very grateful… xox, ever, L
Breath… breath… breath.. in Italy we are used to saying “Respira” (Breath) when someone is in a painful, angry, or other emotionally disagreeable situation. Breathing is the most important function in our bodies and aids with the function of the heart. I can tell you that before starting yoga practice and learning to breath in the right way I was suffering from sinuses and sleep apnea. I starting my yoga practice by myself. I studied pranic breathing technique. As I learned I started applying them to my life. My sleep has improved and have fewer problems with sinuses. When i meet Ali atd Interval Yoga I began learning how to breath during interval yoga classes. This has helped me to have more oxygen in my blood; which has improved my metabolism and assist me in clearer thinking…which really helps me alot in my work at IT security. I’m really thankful to Ali for her work in creating ever new classes and inspiring me to he healthier through my breathing. I’m thankful to all of you, BY, for inspiring me to study and practice yoga. It improves my life and my capacity to help people. Thank you! xo
***Dang Mauro. Thank you for all that YOU do here at Beautiful Yogis. I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to know you. You, my friend, through yough input, kind heart, and compassion…has given me so much. xo, L