On Breathing. From our very first breaths as human beings, we are sustained by the oxygen we breath into our lungs, then on into our bloodstream and into every cell of our bodies. We do this largely without thought.
In Yoga, we practice deep breathing to increase the capacity of our lungs and maximize the amount of oxygen in our system. Our respiratory system combines with our circulatory system to deliver maximum oxygen into our bloodstream while also removing toxins.
Closely related to breathing is our internal nervous system response. We have all experienced our sympathetic nervous system activation when confronted with a dire situation or an immediate alarm. Neurotransmitters such as cortisol and adrenaline are injected directly into our bloodstream and we become on ‘high alert’. This is our ‘fight or flight’ response. Let’s say you see a snake at your feet, kind of thing!
Conversely, when we breath through our nose, both in and out, our body senses all is well and we are not in danger. This activates our parasympathetic nervous system response. Calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine fill our bloodstream and we remain in a state of internal ease and wellness.
Modern life increasingly brings into our lives the metaphorical ‘snake at our feet’. From news stories about violence, to fears over the economy, to global warming, to war, to divisive politics…The list goes on and on.
The trouble is that our bodies do not automatically differentiate between actual danger and perceived danger. Our nervous system is continuously being triggered to activate the sympathetic nervous system response. With the constant infusion of adrenaline, we literally experience ‘frayed nerves’.
Yes, breathing keeps us alive. Less obvious is improved quality of breathing has immediate and long lasting positive mental and physical health benefits.
As always, I am grateful for your continued support!