We do it 20,000 times a day and many of us are doing it wrong. Yikes!
I read a very interesting article today by Christopher Uhl that connects breathing to stress. Ulh’s article refers to information shared in Gay Hendricks’ book Conscious Breathing. When we were little we knew how to breathe. We did it perfectly without even trying.
Watch a baby lying on her back breathing and you will see a model for good breathing. On the in-breath, the baby’s lungs expand and her diaphragm drops down causing her soft belly to rise effortlessly; then on the out-breath her diaphragm pushes up, helping her lungs to deflate.
To quote Jason in his speaking programs, as he refers to the wisdom, peace and joy we had innately as children, “So, what happened?” Well, those who have read Jason’s book or heard him speak already know his theory about puberty being the deadly culprit of our childlike spirits. Once we hit puberty all we want to do is leave puberty, which means becoming an adult. Adulthood seemed so exciting and glamorous. Uhl goes on to share,
Unfortunately, by the time most of us left middle school, we were no longer breathing in this natural, full way; we had, in effect, forgotten how to breathe.
This helps to show us that the physical symptoms of Adultitis start to surface in that transition between childhood and adulthood. It’s not a big surprise what Hendricks points to as a cause for our breathing problems – stress. It’s also not a surprise that our adolescents in America are stressed. (That’s a whole other blog post.)
I highly recommend you read the article to see if you are breathing correctly. It’s a pretty big deal.
When our breathing is shallow (i.e., upside-down breathing), we deprive our bodies of oxygen because the air we take in comes into contact with fewer capillaries in the air sacks of our lungs. Think of it this way: Each minute, only about 1/2 cup of blood flows through the top of the lungs — where many people confine their breathing. When breathing extends to the middle of the lungs, the incoming air has access to about two cups of blood each minute; when breathing is extended to the bottom of the lungs, four to five cups of blood are available for the uptake of life-giving oxygen each minute (i.e., about 10 times more oxygen uptake potential compared to top-lung breathing).
I don’t claim to be a medical expert, but common sense tells me that it’s not good to deprive our bodies of oxygen. The article goes on to share a quick way to test your stress level to see if your body is showing signs of stress.
How many times do we look at children and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be that happy?” Maybe it’s not as much about stopping and smelling the roses; maybe it’s just important to stop and breathe deeper.
[tags]Christopher Uhl, Gay Hendricks, stress, breathing[/tags]