Well, the most obvious benefit of breathing is that you stay alive. But seriously, breathing is something we do every single day… about 21,600 times per day (maybe more, maybe less depending on how active you are, etc). But the quality of our breathing is usually sub-par. How much would your life improve if you could take 21,600 quality breaths per day? Would your day be 21,600 times better? Maybe.
What is proper breathing and why does it matter?
Let me answer the latter question first… why does quality breathing matter?
Breathing brings oxygen to your blood. Without it, you would die. Your oxygenation level affects your tissues, your organs, your very cells! Deep breathing provides the oxygen your cells need to thrive. It also slows your mind and calms your body, which can lower your heart rate and put you in a healthier state.
Ok… so what is “proper” breathing?
Inhale slowly, through your nose, filling your lungs completely. Feel your chest cavity expanding. Then exhale slowly, releasing all the air in your lungs… expelling all the carbon dioxide. Now repeat. It’s that simple and that complicated. Complicated because, like your posture, you forget to consciously keep tabs on what you are doing. you fall back into old habits… shallow breathing or gulping for air.
Today’s wellness task: Breath deeply all day. If you find that you forget, and you are breathing shallow breaths, don’t beat yourself up… just try again.
Here is a page on breathing by Piers Cross, which provides many resources, including a video on breathing technique: http://www.stress-relief-choices.com/breathing.html