Learning to breathe
A moment’s thought reveals the obvious: you can live without food for months, without water for days, but without air, you’ve got a scant few minutes. It’s clear the most important nutrient you need to thrive —oxygen— is literally right under your nose, yet it gets no respect. Why?
The New Nutritional Pyramid
Because it’s free? Because breathing “just comes naturally?” or at least it should. What comes naturally to newborn babies is diaphramatic breathing in the bottom of the belly. It’s both a calming breath and the most efficient way to breath as most of the alveolar membranes (the gas-exchange surface) that enable the O2/CO2 exchange are concentrated at the base of the lungs, which are shaped like soft-edged triangles.
But the truth is that because of our inattention, mis-education, emotional blockages and so on, most of us have allowed our breath to fall into disuse. We may breathe shallowly most of the time or use only part of the lung capacity, never giving it a second thought, and then wonder why we need coffee or chocolate or a trip the gym to get our energy levels back up to where we want them. Over time, we have learned to simply drop the breath out of the equation as a source of energy. It becomes something that just happens in response to something else, not a tool we can use to energize and cleanse the body, regulate our mood, and steady the mind. We run or bike in order to force air into our lungs. We get some fantastic or terrible news and our breath stops. We are asked to speak before strangers and the breath becomes shallow or strangled with tension. Despite what we’ve come to accept, none of this is natural or even particularly healthy.
“How would you like to be able to control your energy levels, anytime and anywhere, for free?”
VyaVinyasa employs forms of movement and dynamic pranayama (pranayama = breath expansion & regulation) that are specifically designed to expand your physical lung capacity, to bring the breath under conscious control, and to fully and completely oxygenate every cell in your body and mind for peak performance. In VyaVinyasa we practice breathing with the entire lung: the lower, middle, and top sections (aka diphramatic, thoraxic, and clavicular), and the fluid and circular movements that accompany the breath ensure the oxygen reaches deeply into the body tissues. Here are just a few of the benefits you get when you strengthen your breathing apparatus and recover your ability to breathe deeply and completely:
- Energy! 90% of our energy comes from oxygen, only 10% from food and water
- Heightened concentration, alertness and memory
- A nearly impervious immune system
- Mental alacrity and sharper memory
- Strengthened heart muscles, reducing the risk of heart attacks
- A calm, focused mind and a clear, stabilized nervous system
- Improved digestion and cell metabolism
- Relief for stiff muscles, enhanced athletic performance
- Better sleep patterns
The next thing we need is water. We’ll talk about that in part 2 of the new nutrition.