Breathing is more than a mere mechanical physical act.
It is an expression of our whole body.
It is a mirror for our lives.
You can read a person's emotional and mental state by observing how they breathe. That is why breath work can have such profound effects on our emotional and spiritual health as well as our physical wellbeing. The breath is that important to our health and our lives.
We can survive days without food, and longer without water, but try holding your breath for more than a few minutes and see what happens! The breath is our constant companion. Even the heart can skip a bit but if you miss a breath...
Yet many people do not understand how to breathe properly.
You can see when an individual is stressed or an activity is too much for them just by paying attention to how they breathe. Or do not breathe. Breath holding is a defence mechanism for survival purposes and should not be used as frequently as so many in our society do today.
"Holding our breath during the conscious state is no different from the probem of sleep apnea with episodes of not breathing"
-Joseph L Borkson, MD
Keep holding your breath and your body will go into survival mode. Survival mode keeps your body on high alert. Your body's cortisol levels are high. How do you expect to lose weight? Your nerves are on edge. You are nervous! This is not the way to live life. Stress is one of the biggest causes of ill health and disease today and breathing Is one of the most powerful ways to deal with stress. Breathing is associated with meditation, energy and relaxation.
So improve your breathing and you will be able to tap into a new dimension where everything no longer has to be fight or flight. The body can now rest and digest. And that's something we can have more of when society is getting busier, more stressed and more and more obese.
And how do we do this? With practice.
You've simply learnt maladaptive breathing habits like breath holding or not utilising the whole of your lungs' capacity to breathe. But we can show you how with our three stage process. Firstly observe your breath. Then become aware of the inefficient breathing you are employing. And lastly, retraining the patterns.
It's not simply a matter of chest breathing or belly breathing.
Your bodies and your lungs are three-dimensional objects.
When you blow air into a balloon you do not see it simply expand in one direction but in all directions! The front, the back, the sides, all over!
You can do the same with your lungs. Straight away, your breathing will become deeper and fuller without any force required. Deep breathing that is forced is not very relaxing and unsustainable.
Rather than trying to breathe, allow yourself to be breathed and start noticing the difference. Since the breath is the gateway between the conscious and subconscious, the internal and the external, the differences you will notice in yourself will go beyond the physical. The breath is a way to get into and beyond the body. Learn to flow with your breath and to flow with life. The breath is related to life and the way someone breathes is a reflection of how he or she approaches and handles life. The breath is related to movement as well as the internal organs so improving your breathing will also improve your movement and digestive health.
The martial arts, recitation of the sutras, performance of ceremonies: all of them advance your understanding by training your breathing.
Traditionally, the masters never taught it but the arts are all based on correct breathing. In Aikido, despite all the throws and showy forms, it is kokyu, or breath power, that is emphasised. In yoga, people again see the outside form of asanas and stretching but there is a saying that it is all just a breathing exercise. Warriors tried to steal each other's breath and there is a belief that if you can breathe out longer than your opponent then you can control him or her!
However, breathing does not come until posture is right so by working on breathing you are working on posture. They are two sides of the same coin.
The ancients knew this and we can show you how. It is not just a physical practice and has to be practiced to be realised .