Our bodies breathe on autopilot, so why do we need to worry about how to inhale and exhale when we could be mastering an arm balance? Well well well, for one thing, breath control, or pranayama, is the fourth of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. Another reason is, new scientific research is showing that mindful breathing, by paying attention to your breath and truly learning how to manipulate it-is differently one of the most effective ways to bring down our everyday stress levels, also improve a variety of health factors ranging from our mood to metabolism.
Pranayama is at once a physical health practice, also a mental health practice, and meditation. It is not in no way just breath training: it is my friends, mind training that uses our breath as a vehicle, says Mr Roger Cole, PhD, a physiology researcher and Yoga teacher in Del Mar, California. Pranayama makes your entire life much better.
Despite the inherently automatic nature of our breathing, the majority of people have a very lot to learn and improve upon when it comes to the basis of our physiological functions. Most of us tend to huff at a fairly quick clip most of the time-anywhere from 14 to 20 breaths per minute is the standard, which is just about three time faster then the 5 to 6 breaths per minute that has been proven to help us feel our best, says, Patricia Gerbarg, MD, the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York Medical College and the co-author of The Healing Powers of the Breath. ( highly recommended for reading).
There is a direct relationship between mood state, breath rate, and the autonomic nervous system state, says Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, the assistant professor, of medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies meditation and yoga. Our autonomic nervous system governs the body’s sympathetic (fight-or flight) and parasympathetic (rest-and-restore) responses, dialing functions like our heart rate, respiration, and digestion up or down as it is necessary in response to any potential threats.
Evolutionarily, this worked is a survival mechanism, however today’s non-stop barrage of the smartphone emails, pings, and all the news updates also embrace the body’s alarms, and does often. We’ve long known that our breathing changes in response to emotion: When individuals get panicky and anxious, their breath become rapid and shallow, says Khalsa. But we now known from many really good studies that actively changing the breath rate can actually change the autonomic function and the mood state.
This is how the researchers think it works: With each and every breath, millions of sensory receptors in the respiratory system send a signal, or signals via the vagus nerve to the brainstem. Fast breathing pings our brain at a higher rate, triggering it to activate the sympathetic nervous system, turning up the stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, anxiety, sweat production. On the other hand, by slowing your breathing induces the parasympathetic response, dialing down all the above as it turns up mental clarity, relaxation, and calm.
Are you ready to tap into the power of pranayama? We are going to teach all of you the ins and the outs of O2 and CO2, so that you can improve daily breathing both on and off the mat.
Getting rid of the carbon dioxide, and not bringing in oxygen, is the main stimulus that drives us to breathe under most circumstances, says Cole. In other words my friends, your body’s drive to boot what it doesn’t need is always greater then its drive to acquire what it does., This is because too much CO,2 makes our blood more acidic, which can impair the function of all of our body’s cells.
Our brain-stem is finely tuned to maintain the pH of our blood, so when the pH skews more acidic, it will trigger the stress response and will send an urgent message to the diaphragm to initiate a breath to bring in more O,2 and re balance the blood.
As you are breathing in, the diaphragm (the dome-shaped muscle that primarily powers the breath), which will not only makes room for all the air coming into your lungs but will also change the atmospheric pressure inside your lungs, pulling air in. That air travels through your nostrils, also into your nasal cavities, down through your pharynx (the throat) and larynx (the voice box), also into your trachea (the windpipe ).
Next, it is routed through the bronchi (the passageways leading to the lungs) and bronchioles (passageways that are less then 1 millimeter in diameter) and into the lungs. Once in your lungs, the air will reaches the alveoli (small air sacs), which will serve as the boardroom for gas exchange: Oxygen (O,2 the food that your cells need to produce energy) is traded for the carbon dioxide (CO,2, the waste produced by the energy production in cells) into and also out of the bloodstream.
Simultaneously, as we inhale, our heart rate speeds up, thanks to a message sent by stretch receptors within the alveoli to the brainstem (controls the heart rate) and the vagus nerve (that commands autonomic function), increasing the blood flow through arteries (the tubes that carries the blood away from the heart) to the lungs so that more blood can be oxygenated.
From the alveoli, O,2 molecules move into capillaries (thin-walled blood vessels) and attach to the red blood cells, which start making their way through the pulmonary veins (the vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the heart) to the left atrium, or chamber, of the heart. Next, the blood moves into your heart left ventricle, which then contracts (beats). The contraction pumps oxygen-rich blood through every single cell in your body via the network of arteries and capillaries.
Inside cells, mitochondria (which is the energy-production centers) use oxygen to burn fats, sugars, and proteins for energy, and CO,2 is the byproduct of this process. CO,2 is biochemical waste-you do not need it-so your body starts the process of shuttling it out. CO,2 travels through the cell walls into the capillaries and then the veins that carry CO,2-rich blood to the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart .
Next, the right ventricle contracts, pushing the CO,2-rich blood out of the heart through the pulmonic valve into the pulmonary artery and back toward the lungs. Want the blood enters the alveoli, then the CO,2 will leave the bloodstream and will pass into the lungs. The diaphragm relaxes, it will then decrease the volume,of and pressure in the thorax, and initiating an exhalation.
Meanwhile, the heart rate slows, decreasing the blood flow to the lungs, also discouraging gas exchange while the lunge are still full of CO,2-heavy air. The pressure change that occurs in the lungs forces the air and CO,2 waste back up and out of the lungs into the trachea, through the larynx, the pharynx, and the nasal cavities, then to be exhaled through the nostrils. Ahhh…
By manipulating the breath we can alter how we feel, accounting for as much as a 40 percent variance in feelings of joy, fear, anger, and sadness, according to findings in the journal Cognition & Emotion. The breathing instructions that are used to evoke joy in the study? Breathe and then exhale very slowly and deeply through your nose. Sounds a lot like Ujjayi
Yogic breathing practices increase the levels of leptin, a hormone produced by the fat tissue that signals the brain to inhibit hunger, according to the research from Shirley Telles, PhD, the director of the Patanjali Research Foundation in Haridwar, India.
By have just one session of relaxing practices like meditation, yoga, and chanting can influenced the expression of the genes, short-term and long-term practitioners, according to a Harvard study. The blood samples that were taken before and after the breathing practices indicated a post-practice increase in the genetic material involved in improving metabolism with a suppression of genetic pathways linked with inflammation. Since chronic inflammation has been associated with such deadly disease as cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression, and heart disease, it would probably be fair to say that better breathing may not only change your life but it may also save your life.
May good health be always with you. Humbly your Paul Earl.