Breathing: the youth elixir

Author: Vasco Gaspar

If I had to choose only one practice to work wellness to a full level, I would have no doubts as to what to choose : “breathing” of course! Yes, the same thing that just went into your lungs and out.

Breathing is something so powerful that if used correctly can even help you lose weight. Can be regarded as a true “youth elixir”, and one of the few activities that can be used to work not only your physical well-being but also your mental, emotional and spiritual. Let’s analyze each one in a more detailed way.

PHYSICAL LEVEL:

To start with, if you haven’t noticed yet, if you stop breathing… you die…! We may go several days without eating, without drinking a couple of them but as for breath, we cannot spend more than a few minutes without it.

Our lymphatic system is a major contributor to the elimination of body toxins. As the circulatory system has an engine to do work (i.e. the heart), the lymphatic system is dependent mainly on two things: the natural movements of your body and you guessed right breathing. Breathing is also one of the main responsible for the renewal of our body. We are an organism whose cells are based on the carbon atom and if the carbon is acquired through food, it is liberated through… breathing (CO2).

MENTAL LEVEL:

Our brain, despite representing only 2% of our body, it consumes 25% of the total energy generated. And to work well it needs not just energy (given by glucose), but it also needs oxygen. And to obtain oxygen we need to breathe.

EMOTIONAL LEVEL:

Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you are relaxed? And how you do it when under pressure? It is different, isn’t it? Did you know that the most effective therapies for stress reduction (e.g. MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) focus mainly on teaching people how to breathe correctly?

SPIRITUAL LEVEL:

Please check if you are still breathing. I’m serious. Check if you’re still breathing. Did you notice that when you focused your attention on the body, your mind stopped thinking, even for just a brief moment, and you were totally in the present moment? It is said that one of the major causes of human unhappiness is the inability to live in the present moment, because our mind is constantly in the past (reliving the things that have happened) or in the future (anticipating things that have not happened yet).

Thousands of years ago some of our ancestors realized this and, since then, breathing has been a practice used by different systems as a “portal” to the divine.

As you know it is important to pay attention on how we breathe. Although there are thousands of practices to train the breath, I suggest a simple way: take three to five minutes alone, in a place where you know you’ll not be interrupted. Lie on the floor with a book on the belly. Start breathing deeply, sending the air into your abdomen. Focus on making the book go up when you inhale and fall down when you exhale. Try not to think about anything else. If you find yourself lost in your thoughts, do not worry. Just simply turn your attention back to your breathing. If it helps, count to five as you inhale and as much as you exhale.

I suggest that you train your breathing the next days. Be more present and aware of its pace, especially when you find yourself angry or anxious. With a little practice, you’ll see that soon will be able to use as a true elixir for your youth!

When you feel comfortable with the process, teach this to your kid(s). Help them to become present and aware of their bodies and of the moments.

Breath along with them into a more conscious life!

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