Life starts with the breath and ends with the breath. Air is the most important nutrient. Without breath there is no life. Breathing is the most important thing that a human being does every minute of every day, between 7000 and 25,000 times. The breath is taken for granted, as breathing seems to happen "automatically", without conscious effort. However, the process of breathing or "respiration" is directly related to physiologic needs of the body for a continuous supply of energy and for continuous disposal of waste.
Breathing is part of the daily work of the human body and can either be efficient or inefficient. Breathing 7000 times a day is a lot less work or "stress" than breathing 25,000 or more times per day. The rate of breathing is determined, in large part, by the work of processing food, the work of providing glucose to the brain and the work of disposing the carbon dioxide waste of food processing.
Inhaled air contains nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, helium, argon and water vapor, in addition to aromas (which are complex chemicals), dust, microbes and spores from plants. Each inhale also brings in the life force energy to which you are connected. Exhaling, which is of equal or greater importance to the inhale, releases carbon dioxide, the major waste of carbon-based food metabolism. (One need only observe the whale, as shown, and note the tremendous amount of force generated on the exhale breath to realize its importance.)
Exhaling also eliminates the pent up waste and tension of overwhelming thoughts, feelings and emotions. Breathing out releases everything we find difficult to hold and that which we cannot bear. Exhaling is required to bring in fresh thoughts and fresh energy. If you hold things in, you obstruct the life force energy that feeds you.
Breathing in and breathing out is the dance of life. Fully breathing in and fully breathing out, with a controlled pause after each exhale is a fundamental, foundational requirement for optimal health.
In order to live well, the diaphragm must be strong to support a maximum inhale and a maximum exhale and to prevent over-breathing. With practice the respiratory rate can be reduced to less than 10 times per minute, ideally 4-6 times per minute and the controlled pause (introduced in the Buteyko breathing video) increased to 50 seconds or better. Increasing the strength of the diaphragm and reducing the respiratory rate will improve oxygen delivery to the cells and support the right amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. Imagine how much better you will feel breathing like this! The proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is the primary way that pH is managed in the blood. If pH in the blood is not slightly alkaline, (7.3 - 7.4) blood and nutrients cannot get to cells, which compromises function and creates disease.
Please view the short video on Buteyko breathing exercises to get started with a daily practice that keeps you on a path of optimal health. If you would like further details on "Healthy Breathing", please click the highlighted link. And please stay tuned for more instructional videos.
How to Improve your Breathing
Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. Greater resistance from the nasal passage makes the diaphragm work harder to either bring in or push out the air. Breathing through your nose exercises one of the the largest muscles in your body. In addition, it is the nose, not the mouth which filters the air you breathe
Allow the abdominal area to freely move in and out during the breathing process. Relaxing the muscles of the abdomen allows the diaphragm to work.
Eat for an enzyme surplus to reduce the amount of food processing work you do every day and thereby the amount of carbon dioxide you produce. Reducing the amount of food processed and the amount of carbon dixoide produced will reduce the respiratory rate, which is a primary way to relieve "STRESS" in your body.
Eat for an enzyme surplus so that inhaled chemicals can be neutralized and airway pH maintained. Proper pH in the airway prevents inhaled spores and microbes from taking up residence in your body and prevents allergies and inhalant sensitivities.