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Take a Sec to Breathe

"Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again." -Thich Nhat Hanh


Breathing is a 24/7 activity that takes zero effort; our brains automatically take care of it for us, which is pretty cool. However, the impact of how we breathe has a crucial effect on our health and is most commonly misunderstood. Take a moment to determine the type of breathing you do naturally throughout the day by answering the following questions:

  • Are you breathing through your nose or mouth?

  • When you inhale does your chest or belly rise?

  • What is the pace of your breath in 1min?

For thousands of years ancient yogic practices thrived on teaching the concepts of Pranayama, which is a scientific technique used to control the respiration and the correlation it has on our minds. The Bohr Effect was originally described by a physiologist, Christian Bohr in 1904, who explained that if an individual takes in enough carbon dioxide, oxygen can be used more effectively throughout the body.

Your body needs carbon dioxide to function, so if you breathe rapidly you lose the effectiveness of the oxygen in the blood which makes your carbon dioxide levels go down and your pH levels go up. That means the harder you breathe the more your blood vessels constrict, the more your airways constricts and there's tighter bond between oxygen and hemoglobin in the blood. This makes it difficult for your vital organs and muscles to receive enough oxygen to function which will increase stress in your body.


No bueno!


Breath is essential! So, do yourself a favor to breathe more slowly and deeply. Pranayama will help you slow down, decrease your HR, blood pressure and risk for disease or health complications. Yoga and Tai Chi are both incredible practices that focus on this control. And most importantly, your mental flow depends on the flow of your breath. You have a life force within you. If you want to find it, take the first step by paying more attention to your breath.





REFERENCES:


Benner, Andrew, et al. “Physiology, Bohr Effect.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Aug. 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526028/.


Herman, Elizabeth. “Learn Pranayama Breath Control and Its Positive Effects on Your Health.” Art of Living (United States), 14 Sept. 2020, https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/blog/learn-pranayama-breath-control-and-its-positive-effects-on-your-health.