The stresses and demands of modern living have literally
taken our breath away. Most of us, children and adults,
do not breathe as deeply and strongly as we could.
Reverse this and empower your
children's lives and yours.
We breathe through our mouths when we should be breathing through our noses. Our noses FILTER the air coming into our bodies--our mouths don't!
We even hold our breaths when we should be breathing.
What's more, we breathe BACKWARDS.
When we inhale, our bellies are caving in like we've been punched in the stomach instead of expanding outwards like big balloons. Take a moment right now and observe your breath.
Is your stomach moving in or out as you inhale? Maybe it's not moving at all. Perhaps the air is only moving your chest.
Shallow breathing, holding our breath, gasping for air, and breathing backwards provides our brains and other organs, muscles, and tissues with enough oxygen to survive but not nearly enough to THRIVE.
Without breathing deep into our abdomens all day long, we don't have the energy and drive we should have to do and be our best.
Deep breathers, on the other hand, get enough oxygen to:
- fully develop their bodies and keep them very, very healthy;
- think clearly and make good decisions;
- fuel their muscles so they can exercise, play, and compete at peak levels;
- cool raging emotions;
- continually fan their fire of enthusiasm;
- sleep well; and
- achieve their maximum potential in all areas of life.
As newborn babies we were all deep breathers. Sometime, somewhere, somehow, however, a terrible thief silently crept into our lives and stole this natural ability.
Perhaps that terrible thief was a sickness. Perhaps our nose became stuffy and we had to breathe through our mouth.
Perhaps that terrible thief was FEAR--Moments when we had the air scared right out of us.
Moments, minutes, even hours when we held on to our breath like a prized possession someone was trying to steal as our body tightened up or braced itself against dangers known and unknown like:
- A scary trip to the doctor or dentist.
- Listening to or watching our parents fight with each other.
- Being yelled at or even hit for doing something our parents didn't like.
- A really scary, loud, or intense scene we saw on TV or at the movie theater.
- Losing or not being the best at something.
- Being locked in a dark closet as punishment.
- Thinking about or actually being physically hurt.
- Hurrying and scurrying to get somewhere or get something done on time.
- Booming thunder and crackling lightning.
- Being teased about our weight or looks.
- Being forced to eat something we didn't like.
- Not being liked.
- Standing up in front of others or being called on in school.
- Darkness or being left alone.
- A dog barking at us or chasing us.
- Just being afraid of spiders, snakes, scorpions, and other such creepy, crawly creatures.
- Being disappointed.
The possibilities of who or what stole our natural breathing processes are endless.
But who or what this thief was that stole this precious gift we were given at birth is no longer important.
Reclaiming our own natural ability to breathe deeply and fully is important!
Keeping this terrible thief out of our kids's lives right from the start is even more important!
Teaching our young ones and learning ourselves how to breathe correctly, consciously, and regularly, just like we eat and drink, is vital to fully nourishing body, mind and spirit.
This teaching should begin right from the start--before birth.
There are things you can do with your breath that will nourish your child's development in the womb. I encourage you to investigate some of these you might find in articles, fairy tales, and yoga/qigong programs!!!
You and your kids can also enhance your abdominal breathing by using a novel, yet time-tested, approach of improving your instinctive ability to "blow".
How many times have you been told to or tried to "take a deep breath in"? What happens?
The ensuing attempt to "take a deep breath in" is usually accompanied by a lifting of the shoulders or a puffing out of the chest as you try to suck the maximum amount of air in to your nose or mouth.
In reality, this lifting and using our shoulders to pump and draw air into our lungs does not result in a deep breath. It results in a clavicle or "shallow" breath.
When we lift our shoulders to inhale, our auto reflex pulls our stomach inward (contracting it). When our stomach pulls in, our diaphragm muscle pushes upward, causing our body to fight against the flow of air trying to come into our abdomen--actually preventing us from taking a deep, life-enhancing, oxygen-rich abdominal breath.
My experience as an author of children's breathing books, yoga instructor, and T'ai Chi/Qigong Master has proven that how we "hoo" (blow out) definitely affects how we "shi" (draw in).
In fact, the Chinese word/term for breathing consists of two characters--"HOO-SHI"-- which literally translates as "blow-draw". A thorough exhalation is a natural precursor to a health-enhancing deep abdominal breath. The more thorough the exhalation, the deeper, fuller, and more satisfying the following inhalation will be.
If you ask a six-year-old to take a deep breath in, you'll get a blank stare. "Breathing in" means nothing to a child because it doesn't produce a visible result.
On the other hand, if you ask them to blow out the candles on their birthday cake, you will get a great big smile because they can "see" the effects of their effort. It's far easier and much simpler to help them breathe better by leading them to blow out thoroughly and then "letting" the deep in-breath take its natural course.
For instance, as they practice blowing like the wind (like through the loop in a bottle of liquid bubbles), they learn to control the "blowing", make it last longer, gain more focus and strength, and produce greater and greater results. They see they can do more fun things and win games simply by blowing better.
People of all ages also find excitement and satisfaction in screaming, yelling and laughing freely. These emotional expressions naturally let out pent-up air and release tension in the muscles used for breathing, creating a "relaxed vacuum" which is automatically and naturally filled by a deep abdominal breath. That great big inhalation from deep within is the source of the excitement, satisfaction, and even elation brought about by screaming, yelling, laughing and playing.
This is true for adults too!
If you don't know what a deep abdominal breath feels like, I invite you to sit in a chair.
Bend forward as far as you can.
Blow all the air in your body out through your mouth.
Now, slowly inhale through your nose.
Feel what happens!
As your family members, young and old, learn and practice ways to regain your natural ability to take deep abdominal breaths effortlessly and continuously, you'll observe the truly valuable end results--enhanced mental and physical capabilities sustained by a rich flow of oxygen, chi energy, controlled coordination, and centering.
You will empower your child and yourself with abilities that will last a lifetime! Abilities they will pass on to their children!
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Originally shared at my EZine Articles.