You’re not taking advantage of one of your most powerful tools for improving your health! Lazy bastard… Of all the essential nutrients required by the human body, we rarely consider that we may need more oxygen. But high oxygen levels are essential for over all function and vibrant health. Deep breathing not only gives you huge gains in your energy levels, but it also plays a major role in removing harmful toxins from your body, and delivering essential nutrients. Best part is, it’s totally free to use!
One of the major factors in people getting less oxygen than they need is our air quality. In and around major cities, the oxygen levels have been measured as much as 30% below normal. Top that with your elevation level, and poor breathing habits and you’ve got a recipe for a below average level of health.Bad breathing habits: the silent killer
Your blood carries oxygen to your cells and tissue to help support their metabolic activity. Without the appropriate levels of oxygen in your blood, different parts of your body including your nervous system, cardiovascular system, and digestive systems cannot function properly, let alone optimally.
Deep breathing is also one of the major activators for the lymph system, which is how the body gets rid of the majority of it’s the toxic waste. Think of the lymph system as the bodies sewage system. The only problem is, it doesn’t have a pump like the heart to get it flowing. It requires movement in the body, (walking, jumping, etc) hydration, and lots of oxygen to keep it flowing smoothly.
Deep breathing can actually flush toxins from your body.
When the lymph system gets backed up, your body can’t get rid of all the toxic waste it’s trying to remove. Toxins get backed up, inviting a host of health problems including cancer.
100% of dead people don’t breath. Coincidence?
Low levels of oxygen cause the vessels of the lungs to narrow, which in turn requires that the heart works harder to pump blood to the lungs. Over time causing the heart to expand and become weaker, and eventually causing it to fail. This is just one of the many ways low oxygen levels effect your general well being, and your bodies ability to function at a high level. Low oxygen levels also effect your mood, reasoning, problem solving skills, energy levels, endurance, and muscular fatigue just to name a few.
Some common symptoms of Low oxygen levels include, headaches, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and fatigue
Oxygen therapy has been shown to improve the mental and physical functions of the body with a direct correlation between the amount of oxygen therapy they received, and the degree of improvement. More oxygen in the blood = better health and function. So learning to breath deeply is pretty important, and what’s great is it’s something you can do in front of the TV.
How to improve your breathing
Most People develop poor habits of shallow breathing due to their environment. It’s easy to develop poor breathing habits when we spend a good portion of our day stagnant. You sit in front of a desk for 8 hours a day, followed by your sit on your way home from work, where you take a nice sit in front of the TV. But the amount of oxygen required to sustain life on the couch, is nowhere near the amount of oxygen required to be vibrant and energized.If your goal is to take deep unrestricted breaths, there are three things you need to know.
How to breath from your diaphragmgood back postureforward jaw posture
Your Diaphragm is the large, dome shaped muscle at the bottom of your rib cage. It’s responsible for roughly 45% of the air that enters your lungs. When you breath in the diaphragm contracts and enlarges the thoracic cavity (basically the chest cavity, including everything from the neck to the diaphragm), creating suction to draw in air. Essentially it creates more room for the lungs to take in oxygen, and when the diaphragm relaxes, air is pushed out by the elastic recoil of the lungs and the tissue lining the thoracic cavity, along with the abdominal muscles acting as an antagonist.
Breathing from the diaphragm vs breathing from the chest
When you breath from the chest, you have more expansion forward, almost as if the chest was being pulled forward by a string. This breathing uses the chest muscles to expand the rib cage forward, while leaving the abdominal muscles passive. This kind of breathing tends to use only a small portion of the lungs, taking in a lower volume of air compared to breathing from the diaphragm.
When you breath from the diaphragm, the abdominal muscles pull the belly down while the ring of muscle at the bottom of your rib cage expand, creating more room for the lungs take in precious oxygen, which is crucial for deep breathing. Think of your body as an upside down balloon. The mouthpiece of the balloon, would be your throat. As the balloon fills with air it expands down and out in all directions away from the mouth piece. Really, all you need to focus on is that ring around your torso just under the ribs expanding and contracting.
Good posture is worth an article all on it’s own, but a good trick for posture is to imagine a string attached to the top of your head and that it’s being pulled up. The idea is to sit or stand tall with your head, shoulders, and hips all stacked supporting each other. Twisting your torso, or bending over restricts deep breathing. Having good posture also has a long list of benefits including relieving neck and back pain.
Forward Jaw Posture
Last but not least, a forward jaw posture. This might sound insignificant but you’d be surprised how much a pulled in jaw can restrict deep breathing. Many people develop under bites with their jaws sagged and pulled back toward the throat. This cuts off a significant amount of air flow through your mouth.
Your Jaw posture can be corrected by being conscious of keeping the front teeth of your top and bottom rows, lined up. Simply extend the jaw forward to open up your throat.
Side note: A forward jaw posture is also associated with more attractive muscle structure in the face.
Strong suckin and blowin
Now that you have a good idea of strong form for deep breathing, and the muscles involved, it’s time to strengthen the muscles associated with deep breathing. To accomplish this, all you have to do is add resistance to the muscles involved with breathing.
One exercise for this would be to take your mouth out of the equation and breathing only through the nose. This restricts air flow making taking deep strong breaths more difficult. Take about 20-30 deep breaths through the nose, focusing on breathing as fast as you can all the way in, and all the way out while keeping good posture. This will probably make you a little light headed, but that’s okay, that’s just oxygen rushing to your brain. While doing this, the extra force required to breath through the nose vs deep breathing through the mouth shouldn’t be enormous, but it should be noticeable.
Another option is to use a diaphragm strengthening tool. If you decide to invest in the tool, make sure you get one that can change settings. You want to be able to increase the difficulty as your diaphragm and abdominal muscles get stronger.
General exercise will also helps strengthen your extra respiratory muscles. Relieve the tension!
Now that you have tight, beefy extra respiratory muscles, it’s time to get them all loosy goosy so you can get the most out of your deep breathing. Just like how when you get out of bed in the morning your muscles aren’t ready to run a marathon, your extra respiratory muscles need to limber up as well. If you go into your breathing exercises with your muscles tight, you won’t be able to use your lungs to their full capacity because your muscles won’t be ready to stretch that far.
To fix this just do a few stretches to loosen up the muscles in your stomach, chest, back, and sides. There isn’t enough room in this article to get into all the stretches but here is one that will cover most of the extra respiratory muscles.The bow: This is my favorite stretch for opening up the chest and rib cage for deep breathing. This stretch alone will cover 80% of the muscles involved in breathing.
imagine there is a sheet of muscle that runs from your forehead to your toes, and that you are trying to stretch it as much as you can. standing tall with your arms reaching above your head begin to arch your body backwards making a C shape. Think of reaching to the wall behind you while keeping fully extended. Don’t try to force it! You’ll feel tension in your chest and rib cage as you start to extend your arms back ,but sit with it. Relax and allow the weight of your body to apply pressure. Breathing will be restricted but try to continue your deep breathing. After a few second begin to bring your arms out going from a “I” into more of a “Y” while keeping your back arched. Reach back with your arms expanding your chest. After your stretch is complete, slowly come back to a standing position.
Our breath is easily one of the strongest tools in the art of living a strong healthy life. It fights deseises, helps you heal faster, and allows you to boost your energy levels any time of the day. Fuck a 2:30 feeling. A few ins and outs, and you’ll feel like a new person. A second wind if you will. Make being tired your trigger to do a few good breaths. Every time you’re sitting at your desk or in traffic and a the idea of nap creeps into your mind, take a second to 20 deep breaths, and you’ll begin to feel more energetic and clear.
Exercise: Flood your body with oxygen
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of deep breathing, but I really only gave you one breathing exercise. I’ll be making another article covering several deep breathing exercises, but for now I’ll give you a quick one for energy so you don’t leave empty handed.
With good posture, take 10 deep relaxed breaths consciously relaxing your muscles from your toes to your head.
After you’re relaxed begin to take 30 deep, rapid breaths, all the way in, and all the way out, trying to fill and empty your lungs as fast as you can.
At the end of your thirty rapid breaths, blow all the air in your lungs out, and resist taking in a new breath for as long as you can. When you’re ready to breath again slowly take in air until your lungs are full and hold that for roughly 15 second.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
I normally only do it two or three times, but you can do it as often as you’d like. Now go be a super human.
If you liked this article, and would like more deep breathing tips, or if would like to show your support, please share, like, or comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts, or any questions you have.