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Importance of Belly Breathing

Respiratory system works with and without our will. The whole system has special types of muscles and nervous system. It works by voluntary and involuntary muscles. There are nine openings in the body. They are two ears, two nasal openings, two eyes, mouth and openings for urination and for passing stool. The nose is the major entrance out of these nine openings. 

Though respiration is the main and essential process, we are very careless about the same. Most of the people take breath through their mouth which is incorrect. In the same way if the breathing is done by nose and if only the upper part of the lungs are filled up, it would be improper & is known as shallow breathing. Due to shallow breathing, less oxygen is obtained. Therefore it is necessary that we breathe by nose but it should reach upto the belly. If it is learnt or taught from very young age, it will prove as a blessing .

THE EFFECTS OF SHALLOW BREATHING

This is a very uneconomical way of breathing as it uses more muscle power than the deeper and more relaxed abdominal breathing. As the age advances, the deep breathing becomes shallow and it is restricted upto upper part of the lungs only. Due to this, the lungs may get exhausted and necessary oxygen may not be obtained. The pressure may be felt on the heart. The heart has to strain more to provide necessary blood circulation to the whole body. These are interrelated complex sufferings.

Due to this stressful condition of the heart, there are possibilities of occurrence of diseases of kidney, brain or liver. People who use chest breathing take more breaths per minute and therefore receive less oxygen and get rid of lesser waste products.

BREATHING IS IMPORTANT FOR TWO REASONS

Our bodies need a lot of oxygen to function properly. The air (containing oxygen) that we breathe into our lungs is transferred into our blood, which travels around our body delivering oxygen to our brain, organs and all other parts of our body. It affects the nervous system, the heart, the digestive system, muscles, sleep, energy levels, concentration and memory and much more.
Breathing is also our largest system for waste removal. 70% of the waste products produced in our body are supposed to be removed via breathing. 30% is removed via the skin and only 10% remains for the kidneys and the digestive system. Just prior to completing the breath’s cycle, we exhale (the out-breath) and get rid of the by-product called carbon dioxide. Then the cycle begins again.
CHILDHOOD BREATHING / BELLY BREATHING

Abdominal breathing is also known as Back to the Childhood Breathing. Observe the children playing or sleeping in a small cradle. The belly moves up and down with deep and low inhalation and exhalation. We have to do breathing like children only. It is necessary and essential for respiration. Distend the belly during inhalation and pull it in during exhalation. This type of breathing requires less energy than chest or upper lung breathing and the oxygen/carbon dioxide change is greater during this type of breathing.

HOW TO DO IT

  • Lie down straight on the ground with face upwards, bend the legs at knees.
  • Keep distance between the legs, hands by the side of the body and palms facing upward
  • Close the eyes and concentrate at the navel, observe your natural breath.
  • You will notice that your stomach is moving up & down with each breath.
  • As you inhale, it is rising & as you exhale, it is falling.
  • If it is not so then purposely try to do it.
  • Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend this movement consciously.
  • While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely.
  • Keep watch on each breath.
  • Do this practice 10-12 times

BENEFITS

  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases memory
  • Reduces anxiety, stress & tension
  • Helps manage stress
  • Sleep is more sound
  • Builds stamina
  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • Very good for Asthma patients
  • Start practising it today and just now. Ask the children to do it without fail. There will be a great improvement in the state of physical & mental wellbeing


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

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