“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe. Trust. Let go. And see what happens.”~Kerwin Rae
Breathing through the nose can slow the breath and make the lungs work more efficiently. It also facilitates the intake of nitric oxide, which helps with oxygen transportation throughout the body.
Have you ever experienced holding your breath? I know this was the case many times for me during the election, anticipating the latest coronavirus updates, or waiting to learn the gender of our grandbaby (It’s a girl!). It just seems like sometimes I’m in a constant state of holding my breath and shallow breathing.
In the movie, Waiting to Exhale (one of my favorites) I can relate to Whitney Houston’s character Savannah. She’s slow dancing with the gentlemen on New Year’s Eve and while in his arms she just, EXHALES! Exhaling feels so good the problem is most of us are holding our breath for far too long.
Connecting with Our Breathe
Breathing is at the core of our lives. The truth is our life begins and ends with a breath. Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist with UCHealth Pulmonology Clinic – Harmony Campus in Fort Collins, who also sees patients at UCHealth Pulmonology Clinic in Steamboat Springs states, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Strengthening our respiratory muscles can be woven into our day.
Committing to taking a break to focus on practicing a technique has many positive benefits including an increased ability to focus. This is becoming more of a challenge for me the longer I’m in quarantine. Molly Shea keeps it simple with three techniques that can be done anywhere at any time.
Get Rid of Incorrect Breathing
I equate correcting bad breathing with correcting a bad golf swing. A few years back my husband gifted me private golf lessons for Mother’s Day. On day one I was encouraged by my coach. To him, I was the perfect beginner. I had not developed bad swings that he had to correct. He could have taught me all the best golf techniques and swings. But with a bad foundation, it would have been pointless. Time to correct our breathing. You are not alone, I am here with you.
Although breathing is a natural process, some people may be surprised to learn that there is a right and a wrong way to breathe. The American Lung Association (ALA) provides the following advice on how to breathe correctly.
Use the nose
Breathing through the nose also allows the nostrils to:
- filter toxins and allergens from the air, thereby preventing them from entering the body
- warm air that is too cold
- humidify the air that is too dry
However, breathing through the mouth is sometimes necessary if a person is exercising or has sinus congestion.
Use the belly
The most efficient way to breathe is by bringing the air down toward the belly. As the diaphragm contracts, the belly expands to fill the lungs with air.“Belly breathing” is efficient because it pulls the lungs downward, creating negative pressure inside the chest. This brings air into the lungs.
Healing Is a Breath Away
I was first introduced to the importance of breathing and healing power during a Mindfulness Retreat. I was shocked when to learn just how shallow my breathing was and how this deprived my body and organs of the O2 they needed. I’m still a work in progress but simply building awareness can influence and impact overall health. Researchers have documented the benefits of a regular practice of simple, deep breathing, which include the following:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Lower/stabilized blood pressure
- Increased energy levels
- Improved immunity
- Decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm
- Reduction in PTSD symptoms
In the medical community, there is a growing appreciation for the positive impact that deep breathing can have on physiology, both in the mind and the body. According to the research, many of these deep-breathing benefits can be attributed to reducing the stress response in the body.
So many wonderful things in life take our breath away. It is simply beautiful when we attach this phrase to a person, an experience, a piece of art or song, or a wondrous place. It is our very breath that allows us to experience these breathtaking moments. All we have to do is just breathe.