Keep calm & BREATHE
“Breathe in and breathe out”, a very common phrase we hear while in a yoga class. Isn’t breathing an autonomic body action? Well, because it is we take it for granted.
Breath is more than just a passage for oxygen to enter our bodies. It is a necessary component in order for us to live. A known fact is when the brain lacks oxygen for 4-6mins, it can cause physical death. What is less known is that it applies to the rest of our organs and muscles as well. Oxygen is transported to the organs through our blood. The deeper and slower we breathe the more oxygen is transported and more nourishment our organs get and the better they function. Apart from organs, our muscles require oxygen too. During a workout session, our muscles work hard and causes the heart to beat faster so that blood which carries the oxygen reaches to the muscles so they can continue to work. What happens when the muscles lack oxygen? The muscles turn glucose to lactic acid, causing a spike in the acidity level, which is bad news. Some symptoms of lactic acid build up include; nausea, weakness, confusion in worse cases. How then we prevent this from happening in the first place? You got it right……BREATHE!
The usual way of breathing does not cut it, there has to be quality in our breaths. During unconscious breathing, oxygen reaches to probably less than half the lungs capacity. In order for adequate oxygen to reach the rest our bodies, we use ancient yoga breathing techniques, call pranayama. These techniques help to bring the body to a state of relaxation, giving the organs and muscles tissues much needed oxygen. It brings the body back to balance, reducing the fight-flight response when our bodies are in stressful situation.
Different breathing techniques:
- 4-5-6 breath, inhale for 4 secs, hold for 5 secs, exhale for 6 secs.
- Alternate nostril breathing I, inhale and exhale using one nostril, keeping the nostril close
- Alternate nostril breathing II, inhale using right nostril and exhale from left. Repeat by inhaling using left nostril and exhale using right nostril
- Breath of fire, deep inhalation and exhale, inhale again and begin exhaling by pulling in the abs to force the air out in forceful spurts. Inhalation should be passive in between each forceful exhalation. Do it for 15 secs, gradually increase the duration.
These are just a few techniques that are easily practiced anywhere. Create a routine to practice daily and it is sure to improve overall health and boost energy levels without use of stimulants.