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Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 5 – Don’t forget to Breathe

Top 12 Tips for a Healthier Life: Part 5 – Don’t forget to Breathe

Dive right into Part 5 of the Tips for a Healthier Life series… and don’t forget to Breathe Deep 🙂

While we are up the top end of the body, I thought it timely to talk about breathing. That all important automatic life giving reflex for which we should thank our bodies hourly.

I recently learned (during an awesome freediving lesson) that on average we inhale/exhale about 20% of our lungs full capacity. 20%, just one fifth. But did you notice as soon as you read that and focused on your breathing, how much more space you have to work with?

Breathing is key

Breathing is the cornerstone of many healthy practices… For example yoga followers advocate the importance of the breath over the ability to get twisty. If you can’t breathe well in the posture, you’re working too hard and that’s not yoga.

And in T’ai chi, deep breathing in sync with the movements holds equal 1st place (along with the movement and meditation) in the rankings of importance.

A silent Vipassana retreat involves watching your breath with awareness for 10 days straight, in silence and is touted as a way of seeing things as they really are.

So it seems the breath can tell us many things such as

– when to try harder/ease off
– how to work in sync with our bodies
– what is really going on
– that nothing is permanent and that each breathe in is a new start and each breath out is the end of something.

Not only that but good breathing can

– Reduce acidity in the blood (breathing out CO2)
– Help us focus (such as in a meditation)
– Calm our nervous system by activating the hypothalamus (in the brain)
– Get lots of lovely oxygen in our systems so our cells can make energy
– Turn you into a superstar freediver (thanks to Jesper for the amazing lessons)

Here is a great breathing exercise to try.

1. Sit up straight
2. Exhale completely
3. Pause for a moment
4. Inhale through the nose directing the breath into the belly first and then allowing the air into the chest and upper back
5. Pause for a moment
6. Exhale slowly through the mouth allowing the chest to deflate and then the belly (but stay sitting up straight)
7. Pause for a moment
8. Repeat from step 4

Keep your attention and focus on the breath and each time you notice it wander, come back to the feeling of the breath moving in and out of your body.

Stick with it for 5 – 10 minutes or longer if you can.

Observe how your body feels after.

Hope this helps.

Love and lite

Cat Moyle

Holistic Body Worker and Wellbeing Adviser on the Island of Malta

With thanks to New Old Stock for the awesome image

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