Most of us do not use the full potential of deep breathing. Instead of drawing energy and powering the battery from within, we distract the breathing process with the stressors of life by being in a constant state of tension and readiness.
Just as we take a breath in and allow time to let it out, a balance between activity and rest should be maintained.
Breathing is an unconditioned activity that is directed by our autonomic nervous system.
With the advancement of technology and society’s increasing tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle, the respiratory muscles lose their functionality and stiffen.
Also, permanent stress translates into blocking our breathing and restricting it only to the space of the tops of our lungs. Any trauma that our bodies carry also manifests itself in problems at the level of breathing. Not to mention the questionable air quality that surrounds Us and limits Our oxygenation levels.
In the people I work with, I notice a lot of blocked emotions in the body.
We live in a time where putting on a rigid mask of indestructibility is a tool for survival and approval. It doesn’t have to be that way! The highest level of courage is to take off the mask and show up in all your truth and with all your emotions, without suppressing them.
With the practice of exploring the breath, as if gradually, the emotions are released and with them the overly tense muscular armour melts away, the masks are shed.
I often notice a blockage at the level of the diaphragm, as if the thorax is unable to correspond with the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm, which should be flexible, feels more like a concrete wall, separating the two spaces from each other.
There is a kind of splitting of the body into pieces, a kind of disintegration, and the inability to feel the signals coming from it appears.
As long as we feel a connection with the body, we are attentive to any symptoms it sends out. Frequent migraine headaches, lower back pain, permanent neck stiffness, abdominal pain, stabbing in the chest, etc., all these signals try to inform us that there is an overload somewhere. It is a sure sign that somewhere the tissues are not sufficiently oxygenated.
So how do you improve the quality of your breathing? How to increase respiratory capacity? How to release traumas encoded in the body?
How to improve respiratory capacity?
The most important action you can take to do this is to awaken your awareness and look at the quality of your breathing. Directing one’s attention throughout the day as often as possible to the breath is already a big step. The very thought directed in this direction increases our attentiveness and gives us more care for the quality of our breath.
Another action that can be taken to improve respiratory fitness is what is known as aerobic or dynamic exercise. These are all kinds of physical activities e.g. marching, running, swimming, cycling, dancing, martial arts, trekking, in which the breathing is accelerated and deepened.
Regular sport increases the capacity of the lungs, and with this a larger area is oxygenated and gas exchange takes place over a larger area. As a result, more oxygen reaches the blood and respiratory capacity increases.
Physical exertion also has a positive effect on the heart and cardiovascular system, as well as on the respiratory muscles, which further improves respiratory capacity.
Weight control is an important factor, as excess body fat hinders respiratory function and reduces the volume of the chest and lungs.
Respiratory exercises will also do a great job in increasing lung capacity.
Particularly relevant in times where there is a Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to have the tools used to improve respiratory quality, to support the lungs with exercise and regain satisfactory respiratory quality after being ill.
Breathing technique – low-pitched breathing – releasing tension
Sit comfortably in the cross seat or on a chair and peel your feet firmly on the floor. You can also lie down with your legs angled. Place both palms of hands below the navel line on the lower abdomen. Start focusing on your breath, relax your body, drop the tissue, don’t fight against gravity. Breathe in through your nose, imagine breathing in the energy, then carry it deep into your stomach so that the circumference gently increases and your hands lift and move away. Imagine how a balloon in your favourite colour is woven around the lumbar spine. When air is introduced through the nose, it fills evenly in each direction and saturates you with energy, nourishes the tissue, creates more space.
As you exhale, the balloon contracts and the air is exhaled through your mouth with all the stress, tension and negative thoughts. Make sure to prolong the inhalation and exhalation phase as much as possible. Be present now. Observe and feel. Allow yourself to release the emotions that arise.
What breath, such a life. . .
The breath can be observed, controlled and consciously transformed.
Deep, conscious breathing is the pathway to our essence, the deepest recesses of existence. It is a powerful tool to connect the mind to the body. It is the key to unlocking the emotions. Is it fast, jerky, chaotic, stiff, shallow, short?
Or is it deep, soft, light, gentle, long, warm, supportive?
You can transform it right now.
So, let’s take a breath….