Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training For A Breathing Marathon

It is a known fact that a person can live for days without food, less time without water, and only minutes without breath. Surprisingly, people give less effort to proper breathing than they do to any other form of health and fitness. People work hard at dieting and exercising so that they will look better, but proper breathing can affect your looks too. Your skin will look better because it will show less stress in your expression, and your cells will receive more nourishment. The lymph system will remove debris more effectively, so your body will glow with better health.

Exercises that synchronize movement and breath have the power to control depression, anxiety, and other stress related disorders. Tai Chi and Yoga have become very popular substitutes to conventional medications for many medical conditions like high blood pressure, eating disorders, and even psychological disorders.

When you breathe in a shallow style only including your chest, you are not breathing deeply enough to remove excess Carbon Dioxide from the body. This, of course, can cause fatigue, and even many forms of dis-ease if not corrected by learning how to practice deep, meaningful breaths.

Unfortunately, a lot of de-conditioned people enter into an aerobic program without first preparing their heart and lungs in a more basic program, and don’t continue because they are breathless and uncomfortable.

Another very important reason for deep breathing exercises is to cleanse the lymph system of toxins and debris. When the heart is working to accelerate the circulatory system, this acceleration causes the lymph system to carry away destructive debris. Deep breathing can stimulate this process. A sluggish lymph system can be the cause of a variety of health problems.

By learning gentle and rhythmic breathing techniques, and taking it gently, you can be on your way to a more relaxed, and healthy body with a willingness to increase the effort and move on to more aggressive exercise. By gentle, I mean taking it slowly and not exhaling with such force that you feel like passing out. I mean simply a concentrated effort to breathe from your belly in a slow and rhythmic manner. Just BREATHING from a lower part of your body allowing the lungs to fill and empty will be a good teacher that will surely lead you to something more.

Beginning with a 10 day program of 10 concentrated, relaxed, deep belly breaths is a perfect starting place. Once your cardiovascular capacity begins to improve, you will want to do more.

Keep in mind that there are many styles of breathing, and the advanced Yogis practice some styles of faster breathing that might make a beginner feel like passing out. Let’s begin with a relaxing, rhythmic, and basic method.

First, you will begin with a full exhalation. This will completely empty the lungs allowing for you to begin by filling your lungs with fresh, clean air. Also, we will begin by breathing through your nose, both in and out, with very little force. Again, if you are a beginner, you are thinking about proper, rhythmic, and deep without force. It should feel natural.

Begin by sitting in a comfortable position with your hands on your knees. The floor is okay, but if you are not comfortable, or if that causes you to lean forward, try sitting upright on a large pillow or stool with a completely straight back. First, exhale slowly through your nose until your lungs are completely empty. Flatten your abdominal muscles causing your diaphragm to tighten and push all of the air out of your lungs, then take a short pause (count to 2.)

Next, expand your belly as you breathe in, concentrating on filling your lungs. Then, repeat a full exhale flattening your belly to put pressure against your diaphragm to completely empty the lungs, count 2, and repeat.

This beginner breathing exercises should be done with no effort. If this is your beginning effort, you should be concentrating on rhythm and not effort. You should be counting to 4 with each breath, practicing for 10 minutes each day.

Once you become comfortable with this exercise, you can increase your exhale to 8 counts. Remember, this initial breathing awareness should focus on training your abdominal muscles to aid your diaphragm in expelling all of the air from your lungs, and to get used to deeper breathing.

Eventually, you will become an efficient breather and should research more aggressive yogic breathing like Fire Breath, or Nasal Breathing.

Ask about my MP3 Download which has an audio backdrop to practice your rhythmic 10 minute breathing exercise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Join Me For A More Positive Outlook

Writing positive affirmations has been one of my favorite methods for training clients over the past several years. First, in the seventies, I wrote them down. Then, in the eighties, I was drawn to a cassette deck with an internal mic. Wow, did I think that I was modern! In the nineties, I worked at the radio station so that I would have access to studio equipment. How cool is the age of technology? Merry Christmas to me, I now have a MacPro computer with Garageband! What is Garageband, you might ask? Too cool. It's a software program already loaded and ready to go. There are background music choices, sound effects, and it's pretty easy to put together.

I invite you to share in my first project, Positive Thoughts, Positive Life by going to my website, www.kathyduncan.com and clicking on the music link. This is a generic meditation devoted to more positive and confident thinking. I hope that you will participate by using the meditation three times a day for twenty one days in order to develop a more positive and open attitude. You'll see! --- Kathy D.