Breath of Life

For some reason modern life places the greatest importance on ‘doing something’. And if you are not doing something, you must necessarily be wasting time, or not getting ahead. Even more valuable is if you can be doing many things at one time, then indeed you must be very capable because you are able to multi task. And doing something must necessarily move as far from self awareness as possible. If at all we are doing nothing, then at least we should be entertained by someone, something. How could we set aside time to listen to the sound of breath and the rhythm of our breathing.

Breathing is something we do 14,000 times a day, yet breath is something we are hardly aware of. Our breathing reflects what is going on in our mind. Have you ever thought about how you breathe when you’re upset, when you’ve just fallen in love, when you jump out of bed, when the shower is not hot enough, when you’ve just run up a flight of stairs, when you are about to make a presentation and the server goes down. It’s so interesting, how your body – the one being that you will most certainly spend your life with is communicating with you constantly in the best way it can – through your breath. Yet we think that being alone, or doing nothing, must necessarily be a sign of boredom, or inadequacy. If we can take a moment to relate to this gift of life, we will get to enjoy being, to not look at the present as a means to the end, but an end in itself. The quickest way to change your life is to listen to your breath, and work with it, through it, to create the best you there is.

One third of us don’t breathe well enough to sustain optimum health. Oxygen intake and elimination of carbon dioxide is too inadequate to allow optimal functioning of the heart, liver, intestines and other vital organs. Let’s review the effect of breathing on various physiological systems. : Please note the information provided below is my understanding of Dr Khalsa’s expression of relationship between breath and health.

Cellular level: Longevity and health of every single cell in body and brain depend on oxygen intake through breathing. Nervous system: Deep and slow conscious breathing tones the entire central and peripheral nervous system. Circulatory System: The quality and efficiency of blood circulation depends on breathing. When tiny air sacs in the lungs receive more oxygen, the heart pumps more blood into the body. The body then absorbs nutrients more effectively. Toxins and wastes are more thoroughly eliminated. Because breathing is so directly and closely linked with circulation, the diaphragm is sometimes referred to as the “second heart.” Muscles: Muscles are developed or wasted depending on the efficiency of breathing and blood circulation. When muscles don’t get enough oxygen, they hurt. Liver function: When breathing is shallow or irregular, the liver cannot adequately transmit the blood to the heart. Accumulated blood in the liver can cause inflammation. However, deep, slow and conscious breathing can suck up excess blood accumulated in the liver. Digestive function: observes that poor digestion, including heartburn, is one of the most common reactions to shallow breathing. Deep and slow breathing by providing more blood to the alimentary canal improves digestion and reduces acidity and gas. “Rotto-Rooter” function: Conscious breathing even helps the lungs by cleansing the lungs of the toxins and noxious waste. Inefficient lungs may retain all kinds of toxins, pollutants, allergens, viruses and bacteria. Deep and full breaths recruit the entire lung into the act and can clean it of noxious substances. Mood Management: When the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, we feel anxious, dizzy or lightheaded. With an abundant supply of oxygen, we tend to feel energetic and cheerful. One of the best ways to calm yourself is to breathe deeply. Immune Function: As the controlled breathing reduces stress and negative emotions, your immune function, too, may improve. Pain Management: Deep, relaxing breaths and the practice of consciously holding and releasing of breath increase the production of endorphins, which in turn reduce the feeling of pain.

If one stops to recognize that everything is in the moment and the moment is everything then breathing is probably the moment important activity you would ever be involved in, giving you the best benefits.