Hardly people realize the importance of deep and slow breathing. From my personal experience and having read tens of articles on breathing, I can easily summarize the benefits of breathing. A person may survive without food for over week, without water for 2-3 days, but he cannot survive for more than 10 minutes or so without breath. With age people realize their physical body changes, their behavioral changes, but an aspect that never changes since the time of birth is Breath.
Pranayama means controlling of the fundamental life force. The entire ambit of Pranayama is based upon “Prana” i.e., life force, which is nothing but breath. Pranayam is an ancient in-depth yogic discipline developed in India by the sages. It specifies a set of breathing techniques which are targeted to achieve specific results which can improve our physiological and psychological balance.
In this short blog, I will be stating some of the many benefits of slow and deep breathing.
- Our cells also breathe. Uninterrupted, deep and relaxed breathing ensures the continuous and necessary oxygen to all the cells of the body. Inefficient and insufficient breathing makes cells in your body devoid of the requisite energy to function properly. Insufficient oxygen to your skin cells leads to dead cells. Insufficient oxygen to your scalp may lead to hair loss. Insufficient oxygen to your brain cells leads to inefficient thinking subsequently leading to inefficient or ill-thought decisions and actions.
- For greater focus. When you concentrate and focus on your breath (inhalation and exhalation), you become aware of your breath. You let go off all the negative and undesirable thoughts from your mind.
- For relaxation. You must have experienced choppy, quick and shallow breathing pattern when you are anxious, worried or over-excited. Take a deep breath, filling your stomach (the diaphragm, to be particular) and exhale. Irregular and shallow breathing causes dis-ease to you. This is directly related to point no. 1.
- For increased lung capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing is sure to increase your lung capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing means breathing which expands your diaphragm with inhalation and deflates the diaphragm with exhalation. This expansion and contraction can be felt by placing the backside of your both thumbs just under the top bone of the rib cage while breathing deep and slow.
- Your lifelong companion. Your only companion till you leave it. Your breath is going to remain with you throughout your life. Your physiology may change, your attitude and personality will change, but your breath will truly be yours till your death. Take care and be aware of it and it will take care of you.
I am also sharing four of the wonderful videos about breath which I found on YouTube. These have treasure trove of information and wisdom.
- Bhastrika (Pranayam) : Explained by Swami Ramdev (Audio language is Hindi)
- Meditate Everywhere Anytime by a Tibetan Buddhist Master | Mingyur Rinpoche
- The surprising secret to speaking with confidence | Caroline Goyder | TEDxBrixton
- The powerful secret of your breath – Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, MD | Romila Mushtaq | TEDxFargo
Thanks for reading!