For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth!
Breath is essential to life. It is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do when we leave. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we are used to breathing for the mere sake of inhaling air not knowing what breathing with intent can actually do. Breathing is influenced by thoughts, and physiology can be influenced by breath. There is more to breathing than just inhaling and exhaling. Meditative breathing or deep breathing is a basic yet powerful practice.
Need proof? At the age of 60, Wim Hof holds more than 26 world records because of the physiological changes brought about by breathing. In 2007, Hof nearly summitted Everest, making it to 24,500 feet in nothing but shorts and open-toed sandals and in the process setting a world record for highest ascent dressed as such! While you may not desire to climb mountains, half clothed here is a list of the benefits of mindful breathing:
- Reducing stress
- Controlling anxiety
- Promoting emotional health
- Enhancing self-awareness
- Increasing attention span
- May reduce age related memory loss
- Improving sleep
- Controlling pain
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving digestion
- Increasing energy levels
- Supporting correct posture
The aforementioned benefits of breathing are only guaranteed when deep breaths are taken. Unlike deep breathing which encourages full oxygen exchange, shallow breathing restricts full absorption of oxygen by the lowest portion of the lungs where the small blood vessels responsible in cellular oxygen transportation reside. This results in short breaths and a feeling of anxiety. Thus, breathing correctly translates to our bodies getting the right amounts of oxygen and replenishing the brain and other vital organs with essential nutrients.
To experience the health benefits of deep breathing try one of Wim Hof’s breathing techniques:
- Be comfortable- sit or lie straight on your back in a comfortable position
- Take 30 quick deep breaths inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth
- Take a deep breath and exhale; hold until you need to breath in
- Inhale again as deep as you can and hold it for 10 seconds
- Repeat as many times as you like
Breathing should create a mind-body connection and more to it, it should rejuvenate your system. We encourage you to pause, take a deep breath, exhale and watch as life gets better!