Do you know how to breathe? In the Kate Bush song Breathing, she tells us that she is breathing! ‘Out, in, out, in, out!’ It sounds so simple and indeed it is. We all do it for our entire lives, but are we doing it properly? Do you know how to breathe?
Awareness of my breathing
I have always been aware that my breathing technique is not the most beneficial for me. I am a mouth breather, constantly being told by my partner to breathe through my nose. I try to do it, but just feel like I am not getting enough air, ergo not enough oxygen. I almost start feeling suffocated and resort back to breathing through my mouth. This brings delights such as a dry mouth and bad breath, not a terribly attractive way to start my day! Despite being aware of this for many years now, I still haven’t taken affirmative steps to correct my technique. This is about to change.
An unexpected painful experience
On my recent holiday in Brazil, my partner and I did some decorating for his mother. This involved the moving of some very heavy furniture. I am not a muscled powerhouse and one of my physical weaknesses is my core strength and stability (something else I will be correcting). As a result of this, I had my first experience of sciatica. Over the years, I’ve heard many people complain that their sciatica ‘is playing them up’. What I didn’t realise, was how painful it can be. I was given strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, but they did not seem to offer me much relief. We happened to be staying in a Pousada, which offered beauty treatments and massage. Our friend booked me two sessions in the hope that my symptoms would improve. A lovely lady by the name of Ana Paula arrived to do my treatment. I slowly hobbled my way to the massage table, letting out grunts of pain and sucking air in through my teeth (another poor technique), finally managing to introduce myself. The first thing Ana Paula said to me was, BREATHE! She went on to explain that without breathing correctly, I was tensing my entire body and therefore exacerbating the symptoms, particularly the pain. She helped me to lie on my front and commenced the hour session with further breathing instruction. Her voice was so calm and relaxing. As I listened to her dulcet tones, I could feel my body start to relax. As she did her work, the pain levels went up and down. I have never been so focussed on my breathing in my entire life. Lying there, I promised myself that I would be researching about how to breathe properly.
Learning to breathe properly!
It is now six weeks later and the sciatica has vastly improved but not gone completely. I have procrastinated somewhat in delivering my promise to myself. However, it gave me the idea for this blog. Writing it has encouraged me to start researching the topic and get me started on taking the first steps to change.
There are various different techniques and exercises to promote and develop breathing. The general principle is the same in that we need to use our diaphragm rather than just our chest. This maximises lung capacity, drawing oxygen into the entire lung and therefore the circulatory system.
The benefits of correct breathing.
Apart from pain management, good breathing techniques come with many other benefits. These include: detoxifying, improving posture and digestion, strengthening the major organs, stimulating the lymphatic system, increasing circulation, lowering blood pressure and increasing energy. All these things will lead to a happier and calmer life supported with improved sleep quality.
As always there are many articles on the Internet, as well as books and other publications, all stating the benefits of correct breathing and how to do it. You can even find apps to help you. Reading the list of benefits makes it a no brainer for me. I am committing myself to making this change and reaping the rewards. Why don’t you?
About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company. Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this. His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey facebook.com/Happylifepeople
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