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Core posture and Core Breathing go hand and hand!
We can survive for 20 days without eating. We can live for 5 days without drinking water. But most of us will expire in less than 5 minutes without breath. We inherently know this but seldom realize the impact that poor breathing can have on our health and daily functions.
Symptoms of Improper Breathing Habits
- Tense neck and shoulders
- Exhaustion/tension headaches,
- Perpetual slight fever
- Poor blood circulation (always cold)
- Harmful stress
- Fatigue and insomnia
Benefits of Proper Breathing Habits
- Carries more oxygen to every cell of the body needed for proper cell function.
- Removes more carbon dioxide from the blood supply.
- Increases every function of the human body including: digestion, circulation, temperature control, brain to cell and cell to brain communication, hormone regulation, cell regeneration, immune function and many more.
We don’t consciously control all these functions but we can, however, control our breathing.
The Breathing Process
The anatomical process of breathing has little to do with the chest area. In fact, it is the muscles below the lungs that actually control the act of breathing, the diaphragm and lower core muscles. These muscles force the lungs to expand in order to increase the volume of oxygen and contract in order to expel as much carbon dioxide as possible. So proper breathing is really about utilizing your diaphragm and lower core muscles — your stomach should expand with inhalation and contract on upon exhalation.
Tip: To locate your lower core, form a fist and place it an inch or two below your belly button.
Core Breathing Technic
Core Breathing is based on the original Zen Breathing practiced for centuries in Japan. It has been passed down among generations and still practiced today by Zen priests and monks as well as professional athletes and performing artists worldwide.
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at this deceptively simple breathing technique.
- Sit or stand in a comfortable position. You want to bring your spine into complete vertical alignment. Imagine having your vertebrae fused into a single pole, with the base of your skull resting at the top. Your pelvic area, in particular, should be in alignment by gently pushing your pelvis forward.
- Your whole body should be completely relaxed, with the exception of your lower core. You should feel a slight contraction of the lower core muscles throughout Core Breathing (similar feeling to the Kegel Exercise).
- Start this exercise by gently closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
Inhale – Exhale
- Fully inhale as quickly as possible, ideally around two seconds. Inhaling should be done quickly and deeply through the nose. Hold this breath for 1-2 seconds.
- Begin to exhale very slowly through your mouth. Exhalation should last as long, and as softly, as you can make it. If a lit candle was placed in front of you, your exhalation should not extinguish the flame.
- In the beginning, you should aim for an inhale/exhale ratio of 2/8; Inhaling in 2 seconds, exhaling in 8 seconds.
- As you progress with your Core Breathing, exhalation timing will increase.
- Do this exercise for 3-5 minutes a few times a day to begin.
By learning and practicing Core Breathing you will quickly discover that a lot of your physical problems will gradually disappear. You will increase your circulation with better digestion, sharpen your focus, sleep better and overhaul have more energy with a sense of calm mostly due to increase levels of serotonin in your brain.
Good Luck and Take A Deep Breath!