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You may be noticing there is a lot of fuss being made lately about the breathe … your breathe ; the one activity that you do 24/7 that mostly is unconscious. Yes we breathe all day so why does it matter how we do it ?

The breathe is the one aspect of our nervous system we can learn to consciously control and it is transformative when we do . Modern lifestyle which are highly stressful and sedentary are significant contributors to breathing dysfunction.

This short blog is going to shine some light for you on the science of the breathe and why taking some time to learn to breathe well is so vital to physical and mental health . The blog will also offer you some simple tips to improve the way you breathe so that you can start to explore using your breath for better health and a relaxed body and mind.

The Yogi’s thousands of years ago were aware of the importance of the breathing well  and cultivated many techniques using the breathe for mental clarity and vitality . These practices  are called pranayama and are essential part of yoga .  Science is now able to explain how these ancient breathing techniques work to build resilience and wellbeing.

It is a myth that taking big breaths is the best way to breathe and will improve the amount of oxygen in our body . Whilst having adequate oxygen is obviously important to sustain life it is actually the presence of CO2 in the body that allows the oxygen to be absorbed into our cells .

Breathing too fast, mouth breathing and upper chest breathing patterns deplete the body of CO2 effectively reducing the amount of oxygen we can get into our cells . Getting adequate amounts of oxygen into our cells is vital for sustaining and balancing our physiology . In short  having poor breathing habits reduces the way our cells function predisposing us to chronic health issues; such as allergies, asthma , anxiety , pain , digestive and sleep issues to name a few.

The evidence shows that when we learn to slow our breath , use our diaphragm and reduce the volume of air we induce a healthy balance of O2 and CO2 which we need for optimal  brain and body function .

CO2 has a bad rap these days as we know that the increasing levels that we are emitting into the atmosphere are driving climate change but in the body adequate CO2 levels are vital !!!

CO2 regulate PH in the body

CO2 dilates smooth muscle

CO2 reduces inflammation

The other factors that we need to be aware of include  habitual mouth breathing and poor posture. Both of these factors impact our ability to breathe well, balance O2 and CO2 in the blood and use our diaphragm.

Hunching over our computers all day and not moving enough leads to poor breathing patterns and so the cycle continues. I could write more and more about this but I think you are getting the basic  the message ;  let me offer you a few tips for better breathing that you can start to use right now.

Of course changing our breathing habits can take time and patience and this is where a regular yoga practice or a few sessions with a trained Yoga Therapist can support you to harness the power your breath to transform your quality of life.

If this all seems a bit complicated; all you really need to know is that breathing low and slow helps the chemistry of your body to do what nature designed it to do and will benefit your health in ways you may not have imagined .

Here are some simple tips for improving your breathing patterns ; if you suspect you have a significant breathing pattern issue feel free to book in for an assessment and individualised breathing program. We are all different and learning how to be more  of your particular habits by seeking guidance from a trained Yoga Therapist can set you on the road to better health breath by breath ….

Tips for better breathing habits

  1. Start to notice your breath – it is 24/7 activity just becoming aware of it is the first step
  2. Try to breathe through your nose as much as possible
  3. Move more – movement produces CO 2 and helps with balancing the biochemistry of your body
  4. Slow your breathe down
  5. Manage tension in the upper body
  6. Learn to use your diaphragm when you breathe
  7. Find ways to relax and slow down on a routine basis
  8. Read Breath by James Nestor