Monday, April 02, 2007

Dennis Lewis on Breathing

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Following are two excerpts from the February 13, 2007 issue of "Authentic Breathing News," the email newsletter of Dennis Lewis, author of Free Your Breath, Free Your Life.

Breathing techniques can be very effective in reducing stress. The two Dennis shared in his newsletter are especially effective for excellent health and wellness. While I have not changed a word in the articles, I have broken the longer paragraphs into shorter ones to make them easier to read in the narrow-column format of the blog.



We hear frequently from people who want to know why nose breathing is so important. So we are including this write-up from our website:

"When we breathe through our nose, the hairs that line our nostrils filter out particles of dust and dirt that can be injurious to our lungs. If too many particles accumulate on the membranes of the nose, we automatically secret mucus to trap them or sneeze to expel them. The mucous membranes of our septum, which divides the nose into two cavities, further prepare the air for our lungs by warming and humidifying it.

Another very important reason for breathing through the nose has to do with maintaining the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. When we breathe through our mouth we usually inhale and exhale air quickly in large volumes. This often leads to a kind of hyperventilation (breathing excessively fast for the actual conditions in which we find ourselves).

It is important to recognize that it is the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood that generally regulates our breathing. Research has shown that if we release carbon dioxide too quickly, the arteries and vessels carrying blood to our cells constrict and the oxygen in our blood is unable to reach the cells in sufficient quantity. This includes the carotid arteries which carry blood (and oxygen) to the brain. The lack of sufficient oxygen going to the cells of the brain can turn on our sympathetic nervous system, our "fight or flight" response, and make us tense, anxious, irritable, and depressed.

There are some researchers who believe that mouth breathing and the associated hyperventilation that it brings about can result in asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other medical problems.

And finally, let's hear what famed osteopath Robert C. Fulford, D.O. has to say in his wonderful book Dr. Fulford's Touch of Life about nose breathing: 'Remember: always try to breathe through your nostrils, and not through your mouth, because air must contact the olfactory nerves to stimulate your brain and put it into its natural rhythm. If you don't breathe through your nose, in a sense you're only half alive.'"


Think back to when you were a child. Unless you had asthma or some other health problem, the power of the life force, your breath, manifested itself in just about everything you did. Do you remember the kinds of things you did then?

In addition to jumping, running, twisting, turning, swimming, dancing, skipping, hopping, wrestling and all the other physical activities that help keep the ribcage, back, and diaphragm flexible and loose, you probably also remember hollering, shouting, and singing a lot--at least until your parents and teachers told you to stop. Perhaps you were even told by your parents or teachers that your voice was so terrible that shouldn't even consider singing. This has happened with many of us, and the results have often been devastating not just on the physical and emotional level, but to the very core of one's self-esteem.

What your parents probably did not realize is that all of these activities, including the constant use of your voice in many different ways, were spontaneous developmental manifestations of the life force, which awakened subtle physical and emotional perceptions, moving through you and animating you. The movements and sounds also kept your diaphragm flexible and strong.

Of course, under the influence of "education" and "socialization," you learned to control or stifle these manifestations and live more in the straightjacket of your mind, the world of thoughts, concepts, and judgments, which gradually separated you in an artificial and unhealthy way from the life and energy of your body. Unless you went ahead and sang anyway and participated in daily physical flexibility- oriented activities throughout high school or college, activities such as dance, swimming, martial arts, and so on, the daily demands on your diaphragm diminished, and, as a result, it ceased to function in an optimal way.

Now close your eyes and imagine that you are a child again. Think of a place and time when you really felt like you were able to be yourself--a tree, a lake, a playground, a hill, a particular street, wherever you felt most comfortable. Now in your imagination jump, skip, hop, twist, turn, run, sing and shout for five minutes. Really sense what that feels like. Notice how your breathing changes.

Now stop and go someplace where you enjoy being alone and try the same thing--but this time not in your imagination but in reality. In full awareness of what is happening in your body, emotions, and thoughts, and for at least five minutes, let the breath of life move through you as it will. Then check your overall sensation of yourself.

How do you feel? Do you feel more connected with yourself and the environment? What about your breathing? Can you somehow sense the movement of the diaphragm in your chest with each breath? Does your breath feel more evenly distributed throughout your body? Just notice, sense, and enjoy.

Copyright 2007 by Dennis Lewis


To subscribe to Dennis Lewis' newsletter "Authentic Breathing News" visit Authentic-Breathing-News Yahoo Group.

Website: Authentic Breathing Resources LLC

Free Your Breath, Free Your Life: How Conscious Breathing Can Relieve Stress, Increase Vitality, and Help You Live More Fully based on 9 reviews

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