DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Have you ever heard someone say “It’s important to stop and smell the roses?” While it’s true we all need to step back from the frenetic everyday pace, what I tell my viewers is stop and take a deep breath.
Breathing is something we all take for granted and yet by breathing deeply, we can prevent many health problems. Medical research shows that simple changes in breathing patterns can make a powerful impact on the health of everyone, even coronary patients and the mentally ill. Emphysema sufferers, asthma patients, and others with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can also benefit from simple breathing exercises.
The human body is designed to discharge 70% of its toxins through breathing. The interior lining of the lungs is moist and dark, and so it provides a perfect breeding environment for upper respiratory illnesses. Deep breathing clears out stagnant fluid and toxins in the lungs, so it is important to make the most of each breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respiratory disease was one of the top causes of death in 1993.
Blood circulation through the lungs is greatest in the bottom third. The circulation at the top of the lungs, near the collarbone, is less because there are fewer alveoli capillary-rich sacs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. A deep, cleansing breath forces the diaphragm to contract and more oxygen is pulled down to the alveoli-rich base of the lungs. This is probably the simplest physical means for improving general health and releasing tension from the mind as well as the body.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH SHALLOW BREATHING?
Shallow chest breathing limits the amount of oxygen flowing into the lungs. Shallow breathing leads to exhaustion and irritability. Energy levels drop. This can be prevented with simple, effective deep breathing exercises done as often as possible throughout the day. Deep breathing can also produce a relaxed state of mind.
Why don’t you take a moment now and stop to do this Full Nourishing Breath exercise?
FULL NOURISHING BREATH
Concentrate on pulling the breath deep into the lungs by relaxing the abdomen.
1. With hands resting on your lap, palms up, inhale through the nose, filling the bottom of the lungs. As you breathe in, allow the hands to move up and out to the sides of the body. This encourages the chest to lift and also facilitates diaphragmatic breathing. Feel the pressure of the breath on the abdomen and chest as the air rises to the top of the lungs.
2. Exhale through the mouth, releasing the breath from the top of the lungs first, then the bottom of the lungs. As you breathe out, release and let go of all the negative energy you wish to be free from.
3. Repeat by inhaling again, and as you breathe in, fill yourself with the positive qualities that you desire, (love, peace, strength, etc.).
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