When it's finally time to calm down after the holiday period and New Year's celebrations taking place around the globe, the month of February arrives, which is the time between those big boisterous months and the next season of starting to think about spring cleaning. It’s not always an easy time, which is why it may be worth using this time "in between" to take a breather from the rush and from the demands and to allow yourself to take a deep breath in and out.
Writing about this, I would like to direct your attention to the breath. Have you ever wondered what breath really is, how you breathe and how important it is? With this article, I would like to remind you of this very important aspect of life that you cannot live without. At the same time, it is thanks to better breathing that you can improve your life.
According to C. Dowling, the author of Rebirthing and Breathwork: A Powerful Technique for Personal Transformation, "The average person takes 20,000 breaths a day, which means that 100 square meters of our lungs are exposed to 8,000 liters of air – the blood carries life-giving oxygen to the cells of our body, which allows us to deal with the stress of everyday life, regenerate or enjoy life. On its way back from the cells, the blood carries 7% of the end products of metabolism to be eliminated through the lungs. Even for these reasons – revitalization and getting rid of toxins – it pays to learn to breathe effectively.”
The breath brings lightness, vitality, and energy. It brightens the skin and reduces wrinkles. It is your inner doctor and cosmetic surgeon. This is because on a microscale breath reaches every cell, and respiratory processes take place in it. The reorganization of the breath will mean the cellular reorganization of our being.
Breathing consists of two phases – inhalation and exhalation. The human respiratory cycle lasts about five seconds, and one breath has a volume of 0.5 liters.
Inhalation causes contraction of the respiratory muscles, mainly the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, expansion of the chest and the creation of negative pressure in the lungs. The pressure difference between the external environment and the body causes an influx of air. Further in the alveoli, oxygen is separated from the rest of the air and oxygen is released into the bloodstream. Then, oxygen is transported to individual cells of the body, thanks to which their vital functions are maintained. On the exhale, the muscles relax, and the chest returns to its previous size. The lungs remove the remaining air and carbon dioxide.
Every tissue in your body – heart, brain, muscles, skin – is made up of billions of cells of different shapes. Inside them, the process of cellular respiration takes place, and the role of oxygen is to participate in cellular respiration and redistribute energy. This energy means the heart beats, the muscles generate movement, the blood distributes nutrients, and the brain coordinates these activities.
If the body only used anaerobic energy processes, it would be poisoned with toxins. Of course, anaerobic energy production from substances such as nitrates or sulphates very often occurs in the metabolism of the human body. The body switches to anaerobic respiration in the event of a temporary oxygen deficit, e.g., during heavy physical exertion or sporting activity. However, anaerobic reactions are most effective in the short term and lead to the formation of large amounts of lactic acid, which interferes with the proper functioning of muscles.
Polluted air and incorrect posture, in turn, impair the process of lung ventilation. When the body does not receive enough oxygen from the air, the amount of nutrients used in the body decreases and the level of toxins increases. Studies also show that a reduced amount of oxygen affects the development of cancer cells and the deterioration of the overall efficiency of the body. On the other hand, the stooped silhouette of the body makes the respiratory muscles unable to work effectively enough. A rounded back, dropped shoulders and weak back muscles are elements that can be worked on to improve your respiratory efficiency. Systematic work on posture and on building proper movement habits helps to increase oxygen uptake by the body and can significantly improve concentration and wellbeing.
The optimal level of oxygen in the body is the optimal functioning of our body. So, the next time you take a deep, full breath, remember that you are not only oxygenating your muscles and gaining extra energy, but also reducing stress and strengthening the immune system.
Poor oxygenation of the body negatively affects the brain’s ability to work. When insufficient oxygen reaches the nervous system, we feel drowsy and lethargic, and our mood and concentration will dip. However, if the optimal amount of oxygen is delivered to the brain, then this, in turn, will ensure better concentration and mood. An oxygenated mind makes you work faster, meaning that you can do many tasks at once while having a lot of positive energy. Good oxygenation of the brain also depends on regular and healthy sleep.
Knowing this, it is worth remembering the importance of daily physical activity, daily walks in the fresh air, and stepping back from the computer by taking breaks during work to do light stretching. If you are thinking about starting a new hobby, maybe this is a time to consider introducing aerobic exercises, functional training, or daily yoga into your life.
That’s all for today’s article but stay tuned because next time we'll cover some practical tips to illustrate how focusing on breathing can help you in your daily activity. For now, stay safe, breathe well, and feel free to share your responses in the comments. Until the next one!
https://catherinedowling.com/rebirthing-and-breathwork Accessed 1.08.2018