Correct Breathing to Live Longer
Breathing has to do with the lungs, which serve two main functions: to get life-giving oxygen from the air into the body, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide from the body. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of a longer breathing out than a breathing in so as to maximize the removal of the toxic carbon dioxide from the lungs.
But the functioning of the lungs may have compromised due to aging or incorrect breathing over decades of misuse. Compromised breathing is often due to changes in bones and muscles of the chest and the spine: bones becoming thinner can change the shape of your ribcage, making it less capable of expanding and contracting during your breathing.
In addition; the muscles supporting your breathing and your diaphragm may also have weakened due to age, such that you have difficulty in breathing in and breathing out enough air.
Furthermore, the lung tissues near your airway may have weakened, leading to their incapability to completely open and close the airways. As a result, air that is trapped in your lungs may also prevent efficient inhaling and exhaling, thus making it harder for you to breathe.
On top of these, a weakened immune system may also make your lungs become more vulnerable to infections and less capable of recovering from your exposure to smoke and other toxic environmental particles.
To add insult to injury, as you age, your nervous system that controls your breathing may have become less functional, making your airways more sensitive to germs and infections. As you continue to increase in age, your lungs may become more vulnerable to lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, resulting in many health-related problems due to a lower oxygen level in your blood supply.
First and foremost, learn how to breathe correctly; many people don’t breathe right because they are not conscious of their breathing. Breathing right may help you in many ways in your everyday life and living. Remember, a healthy mind always has an easy breath, giving a relaxed body. Humans tend to focus on breathing in, to the extent that they may completely neglect what happens when they breathe out, as if it were not that important. This discrepancy between breathing in and breathing out needs to be corrected in order to create a free-flowing breath. Concentrating on breathing in may fill up the lungs with air all the time, such that the breathing becomes quicker and shorter, and thus stressing both the body and the mind. This may, ironically enough, lead to “feeling out of breath.” The wisdom of correct breathing is to empty the lungs of air completely so that it may be filled fully with air.
Always use your diaphragm (the diaphragm muscle separating your chest from your abdomen) to breathe, and not your lungs. Essentially, when your diaphragm goes down, you lungs fill up with air; when your diaphragm goes up, your lungs push the air out, expelling the toxic carbon dioxide. Incomplete breathing (when you use your lungs, instead of the diaphragm, to breathe in and breathe out) leads to accumulation of toxic wastes in the lungs and in other parts of your body organs and tissues. Diaphragm breathing is correct breathing to boost health and wellness of both the body and the mind.
Diaphragm breathing is the complete breath. Consciously change your breathing pattern. Use your diaphragm to breathe. Place one hand on your breastbone, feeling that it is raised, and put the other hand above your waist, feeling your diaphragm muscles moving up and down. Deep breathing with your diaphragm gives you complete breath. This is how you do your diaphragm breathing:
Begin your slow exhalation through your nose.
Contract your abdomen to empty your lungs.
Begin your slow inhalation and simultaneously make your belly bulge out.
Continuing your slow inhalation, now, slightly contract your abdomen and simultaneously lift your chest and hold.
Continue your slow inhalation, and slowly raise your shoulders. This allows the air to enter fully into your lungs to attain the complete breath.
Retain your breath and slightly raise your shoulders for a count of 5.
Very slowly exhale the air. Your upper chest deflates first, and then your abdomen relaxes in.
Repeat the process.
Learn to slowly prolong your breath, especially your exhalation. Relax your chest and diaphragm muscles, so that you can extend your exhalation, making your breathing out slightly longer and complete. To prolong your exhalation, count “one-and-two-and-three” as you breathe in and breathe out. Make sure that they become balanced. Once you have mastered that, then try to make your breathing out a little longer than your breathing in.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau