Every day we each take between 16,000 and 23.000 breaths. Every breath
takes in 250 ml of oxygen and disposes of 200 ml of carbon dioxide. Shallow
or irregular breathing caused by illness or poor posture can upset this
balance and make us feel lethargic whereas fast or deep breathing can mean
too much carbon dioxide is disposed off; resulting in a sense of dizziness
Classical yoga practices a breathing technique called pranayama - the
control of breath. Yoga practitioners have for years understood that breathing
exercises and conscious manipulation of breath creates a bridge between
the inner (body and mind) and the outer (the air), and that through conscious
breathing these elements can unite.
Breathing is a way of controlling the mind. In the crudest example when
you are nervous - a job interview, performing etc - taking controlled deep
breathes helps to calm the butterflies and quell any jitters.
In aiming to reduce depression some researchers have found that quick breaths
- energizing breathing - helps lift any negative thoughts and in turn lift
spirits of those who might otherwise felt depressed and isolated.
Practicing deep breathing techniques in the fresh air (outside and as far
away from pollution as possible) can clear the mind of any chatter and negative
thought. The increase in oxygen not only helps the mind to function better,
it also aids the human physiology by increasing the amount of oxygen carried
within the blood stream.
Find a quiet spot and make yourself comfortable - bare in mind that poor
posture can result in limitations to the control of breath.
Thus, hold your spine upright and relax the shoulders, neck and face. Begin
to breath deeply through your nose. Aim to fill the lungs completely with
air before breathing all the air out, this time through the mouth.
Think clear thoughts and aim to relax the mind. At first attempt to practice
this technique for up to 5 minutes at the end of each day. At your development
increases you may find that you can maintain this breathing pattern for
up to 15 - 20 minutes each day.