One of the basic functions for human beings is the breathing.
But as with the heartbeat, we seldom stop to consciously observe how it happens the magic of breathing.
The world has become chaotic, everything happens so fast, that our mind needs to adapt to a changing environment. And the truth is that our breathing stores very important information … if we know how to listen to it.
Signals sent by the breath
Hyperventilation: By this name I mean rapid, shallow breathing that does not use all of your lung capacity. In the 21st century, much of humanity breathes this way and you should know that it is a clear signal that your body is emitting a stress response, there is a threat near you and you are in a “fight-flight” state. .
Why do we hyperventilate? The reason for this breathing is that when there is a threat nearby, our body prepares to flee and for this it needs to pump a lot of oxygen-filled blood to our muscles, which will allow us to run and save ourselves. The problem is that we introduce a lot of oxygen, but we do not remove all the carbon dioxide.
Can hyperventilation provoke a stress response? In this last year, I have verified how we can trigger the stress response in our body and mind, just by breathing badly… that is why we must observe our breathing.
Synchronization between breath and heart: In our wise human body, nothing happens independently, so what happens to one organ has repercussions on others. In the case of respiration, it is known that when we breathe in, our heart beats a little faster and when we breathe out, it beats slower. This timing is called “sinus arrhythmia”, it is completely natural.
Respiration and cerebrospinal fluid: Cerebrospinal fluid acts as a protector of the brain and spinal cord. An amazing discovery is that the breath acts as a “bomb”To mobilize this fluid inside our brain. The beat of our heart also influences this constant flow. Breathing well helps us to synchronize the heartbeat and that allows an optimal intracranial pressure.
The right way to breathe: In the West we don’t give too much importance to the way we breathe. However, in the East, they have known for millennia that it is not the same to breathe through the nose than through the mouth. For them, breathing is key to our physical and mental health and it also mobilizes our vital energy.
One of the things that I learned when I was introduced to mindfulness is that we must breathe in and out through the nose, because in our evolution, the nose became the center of our breathing.
Breathe out twice as long as we breathe in: If you have read any of my previous articles, you may remember that I have advised you to breathe out twice as long as you breathe in. This exercise that I propose is very useful because when you breathe in, you activate your sympathetic autonomic nervous system (involved in stress) and when you exhale, you activate your parasympathetic autonomic nervous system (involved in calm).
To calm down and calm down, you can practice a basic exercise where you breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds.. When doing this exercise, I advise you to breathe out through your mouth because this will empty all your lungs.
Breathing and nostrils: I never would have thought that breathing more through one nostril or another could be key to my emotional and mental health … but life always surprises me.
Recently, while researching this topic, I came across an unexpected discovery, but one that has made me understand the enormous wisdom of my body. Hindus have known for millennia that …
The right nostril = activates our sympathetic autonomic nervous (involved in stress)
The left nostril = activates the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system (involved in calm).
So another way to relax is to do a daily conscious breathing exercise where, for 5 minutes a day, close your eyes, cover the right nostril and breathe from your left nostril (inhaling and exhaling from your nose). Also, if you have a headache, this simple exercise will relieve the discomfort.
Steps to learn to breathe
As you have seen, everything makes sense in our body. None of the functions in it occur separately and all of them have evolved for us to survive. Now I will give you some guidelines that you can practice daily to learn to breathe healthier.
Watch: This is the first step we need to take to get to know each other better. Just sit calmly in a place where you will not be disturbed, close your eyes and observe how your breathing is now, without changing its rhythm or depth.
Pay attention to things like… Do I fill all my lungs? Do I breathe with the upper part of my lungs? Does the abdomen rise with inspiration and fall with exhalation? Do I feel that I am not expelling all the air from my lungs?
Abdominal breathing is synonymous with health and we breathe this way when our abdomen inflates when we take in air and deflates when we breathe out. Take the air to the bottom of your lungs and inflate your abdomen.
Adapt: Your body does not always work the same and therefore you do not always breathe the same. Sometimes it happens because we are more exhausted, because we are stressed or anxious or because there is some intense emotion that prevents us from calming down. Whatever happens to you, adjust to your breathing and breathe out calmly.
Flowing: If one day you feel that you are exhausted and need energy, breathe 5 minutes through your right nostril. If one day you are stressed and accelerated, breathe 5 minutes through your left nostril and feel the calm that comes to you.
When we flow, we are aware of what we need and we can take care of ourselves even through something as simple as breathing.
Your body is very wise, listen to it and join the calm rhythm of your breathing