The importance of breathing
Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born as we inhale and it’s the last thing we do when we die as we exhale. Oxygen and water are the two most important things that the body needs. However, is breathing only important for the good functioning of the body? In yoga and meditation, we can actually attain different levels of awareness through certain breathing techniques. In this case, the use of breathing is beyond the needs of the body in a certain way.
Breathing is important for the correct functioning of the body as oxygen helps turn food into energy. The lungs in the body take in oxygen to burn food into energy and release carbon dioxide. Therefore, we rely on air for our survival and to be more precise, oxygen. Oxygen feeds the cells in the body giving them energy for life.
What about optimum level of oxygen in the body?
We are going to use the analogy of a car to explain the optimum use of oxygen. Just like a new car has a very good level of fuel efficiency, a fit body can absorb more oxygen. It is also known that a body which is not overweight will also need less oxygen. You may think of a car having less passengers in it. It will need less fuel to travel and the drive will feel very comfortable. Hence, having a good diet, enough exercise and the weight well maintained are all very important to be breathing at an optimum level. The breath should not be treated as something different from the body. In terms of yoga, they are both one. For example, in yoga, doing a set of asanas/postures calm down the mind and a calm mind usually helps us to do a series of asanas/postures. From a broader perspective, the mind and the body are actually just one in that perfect yogic posture, hence the notion of oneness in yoga.
Having a healthy routine
You can have a healthy daily routine in the following way to keep yourself energized and relaxed.
Step 1: Establish at least a healthy 30 minute daily workout which can be as simple as walking or a well-planned series of exercises, yoga or fitness training to give the body a work out.
Step 2: Have a daily breathing routine. Incorporate the breathing exercise I am going to teach below.
Step 3: Have a full body relaxation with a guided body scan with a link to an audio file I have once again provided below.
After that you have done your 30 minutes work out, follow the following instructions:
- Sit in a quiet place, turn off your mobile and make sure your back is straight. Make sure that no one will disturb you for the next 45 minutes. Perform the 4-7-8 breathing technique for 3 rounds where you breathe in for a count of 4, retain the air for a count of 7 and breathe out through the mouth for a count of 8. I give a demonstration of this breathing technique on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVRtEoGb1-M&t=76s
- Take very slow breaths in and out. They are very slow breaths where each breath in or out is equivalent to 1 second. For example, while breathing in, you could be counting 1-10 and while breathing out, you could be counting 1-10 again. It might take some time and practice to get it right.
- Take 5 breaths in and out with both nostrils. The 6th up to the 10 th breath will be breathing in through the nose but breathing out through the mouth.
- At this point in time, you would be in a semi meditative state if you have done the exercise well.
- Lie down and run the body scan meditation audio file on the following link: https://clyp.it/2qsqseid
- The audio file can be downloaded for daily use as well.
As mentioned in the you tube video, we must not overdo the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Why? Breathing deeply brings more oxygen to the body and too much oxygen is called hyporoxia and this can damage our cells, leading to overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals. Having too little oxygen is called Hypoxia and this is not good as well. Hence, everything should be done with the right dosage and instructions well followed.
I hope that you enjoyed reading it.
Much love, Geerish.