Breathing is our most vital function.
Proper breathing is as important to good health and well-being as a nutritious diet and adequate exercise.
The benefits accrue without cost. There are no drugs to buy or negative side affects to endure.
Most people have restrictive breathing patterns – over-breathing/hyperventilating or shallow, inefficient, dysfunctional, upper chest breathing, which can help cause many of the things that proper breathing can alleviate!
The goal of conscious breathing is better oxygenation of your cells, tissues and organs, including your brain.
Additionally, many bacteria, viruses and even cancer cells can not live in an highly oxygenated environment.
“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
~ Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Strengthens immune system
Promotes easier weight loss
Lowers blood pressure
Increases core strength
Massages internal organs
Reduces need for pain and asthma medication
Accelerates lymph flow and drainage
Improves mental clarity/ concentration
Increases blood flow
Elevates mood and feelings of joy
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
by Dr. Andrew Weil
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
* Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
* Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
* Hold your breath for a count of seven.
* Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
* This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
~ Dr. Joseph Mercola comments on The Relaxing Breath:
“Personally, I think one of its greatest values may be gained when you combine it with your meals. Most of us eat three meals a day, so it makes remembering to do it easier. Also, I believe that combining it with the attitude of gratitude for the healthy meal you just ate, or are about to eat, can have a powerful, beneficial influence on your health.”
Proper breathing has been show help ease and even to alleviate the following, often when nothing else would work:
Loss of smell
High stress levels
Shortness of breath
Note from Christina:
I am looking for verification that the following statements, attributed to Dr. Otto Warburg, were indeed made by him.
Dr. Otto Warburg was President of the Institute of Cell Physiology and the 1931 Nobel Prize Winner in Phisiology and Medicine “for his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme.”
If you know of a source for any of these remarks – one of his papers or a speech or an interview (NOT simply on a website with no accountability), I would greatly appreciate you emailing me a copy or a link. Thank you.
“Deep breathing techniques which increase oxygen to the cell are the most important factors in living a disease free and energetic life . . . remember: when cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not, cannot occur.”
“Deprive a cell 35% of its oxygen for 48 hours and it may become cancerous.”