You may ask why the need to practice breathing? Doesn’t it come naturally? My answer is, not really. Not the effective breathing I’m referring to. This type of breathing has physical, mental and emotional benefits that everyone can access quickly and easily.
Background in Breathing and Meditation:
When I was 12 years old, I was introduced to breath and meditation practice up at 10,000 feet elevation in the Rocky Mountains. Realizing at this young age how profound the practice could be, I later traveled to Europe to study at a school that was specifically designed to teach breathing and how to integrate it into your spirituality. Back in California, I then studied martial arts with a master from South Korea. He taught me the kind of breathing techniques they used in their Tai Kwan Do. When the yoga revolution hit the US in the 1980’s, I was fortunate to study with different masters of the science of breathing. These targeted breathing and meditation videos have been synthesized from nearly 50 years of study, teaching and practice.
For those interested in taking care of themselves, integrating breathing and meditation into your routine is essential. For starters, this type of practice directly facilitates expansion, circulation and functionality to parts of the human system which are otherwise hard to reach. The type of breathing we’re talking about creates maximum expansion in the rib/thoracic area which has a number of beneficial effects including taking pressure off the spinal discs, relieving tension from the stress-response nerves and increasing oxygen uptake. When the rib cage opens up with that inhale, we stretch out the diaphragm muscles, which are attached to the bottom of the ribcage. That ribcage expansion forces spinal extension because the ribs are wedged in between the spinal vertebrae. Spinal extension is key for the brain and the central nervous system.
Targeted breathing also benefits vital organs that make up the human physiology. For example, that expansive inhale acts as a pump which pushes circulation to the brain. Then, when we emphasize the exhale part of the breathing, the abdominal/digestive area is impacted. Vital organs like the liver, colon, kidney, spleen and others are directly influenced by taking that core abdominal area and moving it toward the lower back during exhale. This type of movement aids digestion, strengths core muscles and stabilizes the lower back. (For more details on the benefits of targeted breathing, check out our previous blogs on the topic: Expand Your Stress Relief and Relax Your Nervous System.)
Consistency is Key:
The secret sauce is consistency. Individuals who are breathing on a regularly basis notice a mental and emotional shift. The unconscious breathing patterns and hormonal system are affected. We feel relaxed physically and more focused mentally as the breath becomes harmonious and rhythmic. When we are consistent with the breathing exercises, there is a positive influence on the breath for the next 4 to 12 hours and the effect is cumulative over time.
Some people like to practice on the weekends while others want something every day. Some people want to get up in the morning and get right to their breathing while others go through their day before they can settle down. Implement a regular practice at all cost. If for now, you commit to breathing once a week, that’s a good start. 3 or more times per week is better.
Trust the process and know that within 4-6 weeks of following this Breathing and Meditation routine, you will feel better forever. Watch the first video in the series: Relationship Between Breath and the Ribs.