We can live two months without food and two weeks without water, but we can only live a few minutes without air.
Our life begins with an inhalation and ends with an exhalation.
Between the first and the last, an adult person breathes 21.000 times a day.
However, in general we breathe using only 30% of our capacity.
As a result of breathing superficially, we don’t obtain all the oxygen we should be obtaining and as a consequence we may notice we have fatigue, lack of energy, anxiety and many other disorders.
In the long run, an insufficient oxygenation will negatiely affect our physical and mental health.
You may ask yourself, if breathing is a mechanical and natural action, that is produced by itself… Why aren’t we breathing properly?
When we are newborns our breathing is long, abdominal, diaphragmatic.
With this kind of deep breathing, we have a greather capacity to absorb energy and oxygen.
When we become adults, as a result of bad habits, wrong postures, being exposed to unhealthy envoronmental factors and stress, we start breathing more in the upper part of the rib cage, a kind of breathing that would be more adequate when practicing intense exercise.
What is the abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing?
When we breathe, various muscles are at work, but the most active is the diaphragm. This is a muscle that divides our trunk into two parts, when it is relazed it has the shape of a dome and it is connected to the lungs on its lower part.
Below it we have the liver, the stomach, the spleen and the pancreas.
When we inhale, the diaphragm contracts and flattens, pulling the lungs downwards, so that they may expand and fill up.
As it moves, the diaphragm pushes the abdomen outwards, this is why it is called abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing.
The movement of the diaphragm massages the abdominal organs and this helps improve our digestion, eliminate constipation and gases in the digestive tract.
A diaphragmatic breathing allows us to take a great quantity of air to the lower part of the lungs, that which has a greater alveolar capacity, where gas exchange takes place, and this guarantees, with the exhalation, a better ventilation, oxygen intake and cleaning of the lungs.
The movement of the diaphragm also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which automatically produces a relaxation of the while organism, moreover it stimulates the heart and blood circulation.
How do we breathe when we feel nervous?
In general, when we are nervous we have an accelerated breathing, we take in too much air and this produces hiperventilation, that produces a feeling of shortness of breath.
Emotions such as anguish, stress and anxiety, make us forget about our diaphragm and breathe mainly in the chest. This generates muscle tensions and somatizations.
It has been scientifically proven that when we breathe deeply, we chage the activity in the brain cortex.
What is complete breathing?
Having a complete breathing means using 80-85% of our lung capacity, unifying abdominal, thoracic or intercostal and clavicular breathing, so that our body can receive a good oxygen supply, reducing our blood pressure and the levels of cortisol inn our blood, which increase the feeling of anxiety.
Benefits of a complete and conscious breathing
Learning to become aware of our breathing and to breathe in a more complete way allows us to have more energy and security, it helps us to calm down in stressful times and to reduce impulsive reactions.
This can be very useful when we have to speak in public, for example.
A good use of our breathing can free us from disorders such as stress, anxiety, physical and mental blockages and toic emotions.
A deep and relaxed breathing contributes in reducing the levels of inflamation, it improves cardiovascular functions and helps us have a healthy metabolism.