Taking a deep breath can improve your health

WE all know breathing is important. To put it bluntly, if you don't breathe, you die. No newsflash there.

But did you know there is a difference between good breathing and bad breathing, and the difference can have an impact on your health?

Yoga instructor and reiki master Pushpa Bakshi said humans had developed bad breathing habits, and they could receive health benefits by practising better techniques.

She said the science behind breathing in yoga was not based on spirituality. It was about the physical body and its functions.

Ms Bakshi said the human body contained about 75 trillion cells, which thrived on oxygen.

"Your cells need to be oxygenated and get their nutrients and have the ability to eliminate," she said.

"The most common killer of cells is lack of oxygen."

The most basic way of explaining 'poor breathing' is when people breathe in with an isolated movement from the chest.

M Bakshi said that breathing motion, used by most humans, was limiting.

When you are under stress, your breathing pattern changes. An anxious person takes small, shallow breaths.

She said healthy breathing should involve inhaling with a movement through three parts of the torso: the upper chest, the lower ribcage and the diaphragm (around the stomach).

Some people might think of healthy breathing as a spiritual concept, but there is solid science emphasising the importance of good breathing, especially the connection between stress levels and poor breathing.

Your brain sets your breathing rate according to carbon dioxide levels in the body, rather than oxygen levels.

When you are under stress, your breathing pattern changes. An anxious person takes small, shallow breaths.

This empties too much carbon dioxide out of the blood.

Shallow over-breathing (or hyperventilation) can heighten physical symptoms of stress such as chest tightness, constant fatigue, faintness and light-headedness, feelings of panic, headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia and muscular aches, twitches or stiffness.


How to improve your breathing

You might be asking yourself, how can I concentrate on my breathing when I am trying to live my life?

Yoga master Pushpa Bakshi said all it took was five minutes practice to gain a better sense of health.

She said after some practice, the new breathing movement began to happen naturally, even when you were not thinking about it.

She recommends trying the following method:

  • Breathe in gently for four seconds, hold it in for two seconds, and then exhale for four seconds.
  • Whereas most people just breathe in with a movement at the top of their chest, try breathing in with a motion including your upper chest, lower ribcage and diaphragm.
  • You might have noticed yoga masters breathe through their noses rather than their mouths. This is a more efficient route for oxygen to travel to the lungs, as it uses a more direct pipeline.

Topics:  gladstone health lifestyle pushpa bakshi yoga

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