The brilliance of the human organism astounds me each day. Whether we, humans, are studied under a microscope or from afar, we are all certainly gorgeous.
I find the interconnected relationship of our many dimensions most interesting. For instance, the relationship between the mind affecting the body and vice versa ; or how emotions can warp the appearance of everything; and how the body can determine what we are capable of in certain situations is all fascinating. I consider the study of that inner-dimensional connectedness within the human experience a lifelong experiment. My inner lab assistant observes everything, notates reactions and outcomes, and accumulates any data that supports the hypothesis of how to live life more whole.
There are various experiments scientists perform in the laboratory. When transitioning to the lab of life, there are many tools to apply that will enhance our inner connectedness. In fact, there is one surefire tool that you already use daily in life that, if applied correctly, can help dramatically.
It’s a simple one, breathing.
The process of breathing is so simple it is often neglected. Knowing how the breathing process is supposed to work, I can tell you that most people do not breathe correctly. Oftentimes, we only pay attention to our breathe when we’re performing tasks such as exercise, meditation and singing. Equal consideration needs to be applied to breathing throughout the day. When we drive the car, wash dishes, or take out the trash, there is a correct method to breathe.
Called deep abdominal breathing or the natural breath, the process starts from the diaphragm. Air gets pulled into the body by the suction created from muscles in the torso that expand the thorax and abdomen. Likewise, as the diaphragm relaxes, air is exhaled from the body. This exchange ideally travels through the nose. Contrary to average shallow breathing, the chest is not the focal point. Rather, the lower core is at the core of the breathing process.
When breathing, I use a few check points to monitor my breath efficiency. First, I take notice of my nose. To encourage breathing from the nose, I rest my tongue gently on the soft palette of the roof of the mouth. This will connect the flow of life force (qi) in the body too. Inhaling the air, I make sure to allow the belly to move and feel the air travel to my tailbone. The abdomen must expand along with the back and lower ribs to take a full breathe. But, the chest moves opposite—it descends on the inhale. When exhaling the chest and spine rises, and the belly and ribs deflate.
There you have it.
Inhale through the nose. Let the abdomen and lower ribs expand. Then exhale, chest rises and the abdomen deflates. Let the air flow in a smooth, penetrating rhythm. Flow is crucial. When the breath flows, life-force flows. Think of the breathing process as a small illustration of the flow of life.
When observing the entire breathing process, the situations that impede the natural breath become clear. Anxious, frenzied emotional states impact the flow of breath tremendously. Even more amazing is the impact of poor (or unhealthy) breathing on our choices and actions. I always notice when my choices turn into burdensome obligations, because my breathing becomes shallow and short. Anytime my breath becomes shallow, short or imperceptible, that’s a trigger to BREATHE (and reconsider my actions). It is not a coincidence that the definition of anxiety is, “to choke out or to suffocate.” Anxiety and the obstruction of the breath go hand in hand. This is one reason why it is important to pay attention to regulating the breathing process.
A secondary approach to support the breathing process is with the of use herbs, specifically adaptogenic herbs or simply, adaptogens. Adaptogens are specialized herbs that help us to adapt to stressful situations. By using adaptogenic herbs regularly, anxiety, which is a byproduct of stress, can be alleviated and better managed, which makes natural deep breathing much easier. Do some research, but you’ll probably agree ShenTrition is one of the best supplements to get a wide array of adaptogens. It’s my favorite, hands down!
Study how your breath works throughout the day. The flow of this common process is extremely vital to our health and personal growth. Remember to let it flow and just breathe.