Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Breathe...Breathe in the Air.

Breathe is one of my favorite songs from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album.  It is a fitting title to this entry because I am going to talk about...well...breathing.

One thing that Jordan Rubin recommends in The Maker's Diet and also in his co-written book, Restoring Your Digestive Health (w/ Joseph Brasco), is to take some time every day and do some deep breathing.  This simply means to A.) breathe properly and deeply and B.) Well...there is no B - just do A.
"Proper breathing relieves stress and lowers the blood pressure.  It delivers life-giving oxygen to the seven trillion cells in the body.  Through a chemical process called oxidation, it permits the body to eliminate toxins and to convert nutrients to energy".  - Page 109, Restoring Your Digestive Health
That statement alone is reason enough for me to follow at least the recommended 5-10 minutes per day of deep breathing.  However, the benefits don't stop there!  Deep breathing or 'Gut breathing' when done properly will also stimulate the body process called peristalsis, help strengthen weak abdominal (core) muscles, and help focus the mind - similar to meditation.

For more information about deep breathing, I recommend that you visit Authentic Breathing's website.

All of the above listed benefits are easily achieved for free.  Let's face it, everyone that is alive breathes.  Taking just 5-10 minutes out of your day - heck, taking 5-10 minutes a couple of times per day - is not all that difficult.  It doesn't take any special equipment, gym membership, or personal trainer - though you may want to consult a source about deep breathing technique.  Wait a minute, I'll even provide that for free!

Deep Breathing Technique

To breathe properly, don't suck in your gut!  Thanks to the protective rib cage, there simply isn't enough room for your lungs to expand to full capacity without letting your abdomen expand.  With proper deep breathing, the diaphragm will push down into the abdomen thus pushing out your stomach.  Simply filling your lungs without allowing your gut to expand will not achieve deep breathing.
So, to begin with deep breathing your best bet is to find a comfortable position -  I find that lying down or sitting in a recliner with my feet up works the best for me.  Relax your abdominal muscles and allow your stomach to rise and fall with each breath.  Concentrate on your breathing.  Inhale fully through your nose for 4-6 seconds and exhale quickly through your mouth while contracting your abdominal muscles.  There is no need to forcibly contract, just give a little push.  By focusing on counting the seconds while you inhale, you will clear your mind of other thoughts and enter a state similar to meditation.  What you do with this state is entirely up to you - no government influence here.

Personally, following my deep breathing 'exercise,' I find it even more beneficial to pray, read, and/or study.  I am undecided, though, if it is better to eat a meal prior to or after deep breathing.  One school of thought would be that you are priming your digestive system to receive food.  The other school of thought would be that, by deep breathing after eating, you are assisting directly in digestion.  It seems to me that the former is better than the latter as it can be really difficult to breathe deeply depending on the size of the meal that you just consumed.

My morning routine now looks like this:
  • Wake up
  • Walk the dog - sometimes longer than just letting her 'do her business'
  • Prepare my VidaCell with raw honey and cinnamon
  • Feed the dog
  • Drink my VidaCell
  • Deep Breathing
  • Quiet time or devotional
  • Breakfast (unless I am fasting)
Whatever the timing, it is certainly better to do it when you can rather than when you should.  Waiting for the optimal time may mean that you never do it at all - "Well, I was going to take some time this morning for deep breathing because that is the best time for me.  I forgot to do it.  I could do it now, but it isn't the best time so I will wait until tomorrow morning and try again..."  Yeah...we've all been there.  Do you have a moment right now?  Go ahead...sitting in that chair right there.  Close you eye, relax, and breathe.  I'll wait...

On the subject of breathing...

One of my favorite action movies of the 80's is Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins.  This movie stars Fred Ward, Joel Grey, and Wilford Brimley (was there an 80's movie that Wilford Brimley wasn't in?).  Contrary to its title, this also marked the cinematic end of Remo's adventure.  At any rate, Joel Grey plays an ancient Korean man (his age is never truly revealed) who takes Remo as a student in the art of Sinanju - an even more ancient (yet fictional) Korean Martial Art.  His first lesson to Remo is simply 'breathe.'

And Finally...

Falling into the 'breath of fresh air' category, there is a new publishing company that is focusing on helping the writer get published.  Rather than overlooking works with wonderful potential just because the author is unknown, G8Press (not G-8 as in the summit, but G8 as in gate) will welcome them.  Check out The Gate Webzine for more information!


Aly said...

Great stuff, Greg! Thanks for the insight.

~Sara~ said...

It always amazes me the small things we take for granted. Even breathing. You've inspired me (again) and I'm going to try to add deep breathing exercises to my daily routine. I found myself doing it just reading your post. :) It really just makes you feel good. I learned a lot of other good that can come of it that I hadn't really been aware of. So, thanks for the tips!

As for your layout inquiry, it looks fabulous. I have my resolution set really low so I can work in my graphic design programs and see the whole layout. I personally didn't have any issues seeing everything.

Thanks for another intriguing post! ;) Keep at 'em.

Aly said...

Greg! I had to come back to say how much I LOVE the new look of your blog! It looks amazing! How many more exclamation points can I use!?! :)