The very first thing that you do when you begin life is take a breath and the last thing that you do upon your death is to exhale. To say that breath is the be all end all of existence is not an overestimation.
To truly cover the marvel that is the living breath, would require a volume of books but I hope to give you a basic understanding of and the importance of the proper method of breathing.
Your breathing regulates and controls every single function in your body. This is something that the East has known since time immemorial and the West is just beginning to understand. If you can at least teach yourself to breathe properly, then you will be a long way to extending your life and improving your health.
Most people have heard the famous phrase about how you can go without food for weeks and without water for days but you can only last a few minutes without breathing. Well, the most important point from this anecdote would seem to be that oxygen is the most important thing of all, but that is not actually the case. The most important lesson is that breathing is a form of ingestion; eating is ingestion, drinking is ingestion. When you breathe, you eat. The fact that you are digesting with your lungs instead of your stomach and intestines doesn’t make breathing any less a form of food consumption. Air is food, learn to eat properly.
Therefore just like having a good diet, you want to ingest healthy air. Most people now a days live in the city, unfortunately here you will not find healthy air. Every single chance you get, take walks and strolls in areas where there is a lot of Flora, the more the better. Get out of the city when you can and go camping or hiking in the great outdoors. Take deep breaths when you get there and your body will love you for it.
Now the best way to begin to breathe properly is to learn to use your entire lung capacity. Most people tend to breathe with only the upper 0ne third of their lungs. This is a terrible mistake because you are robbing yourself of much needed energy.
Think of your lungs as one large glass and oxygen as the water that fills the glass. When you breathe in you are going to fill yourself just like a glass…bottom to top. If you keep this in mind then you will fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. And when you breathe out, just like a glass of water, you will empty your lungs from the top to the bottom. This is most efficient use of your lung capacity and it will allow you to take in much more energy with each breath. Also remember that just like the water fills the glass completely, you want the width of your lungs to be filled completely. Feel the pressure against the sides of your ribs as the air fills the full width of your lungs.
In the East there are an infinite number of variations in breathing style. Some prefer long exhalations, while others prefer long inhalations, and many a Yogi will tell you that the key to it all is a perfectly even breath.
I will give you a basic rule of thumb and then you can decide for yourself how you wish to vary your breathing cycle. But before we continue; please be very careful with these exercises. If you have heart trouble or if you are at risk of brain hemorrhage, please contact your doctor before you try anything that might be risky to your health.
Anyway, the rule of thumb is this:
- If you are inhaling, then you are taking energy into your body. A slow inhale is like a sponge soaking up pure energy from its surroundings. For example; a very long inhalation, as long as your lungs can possibly handle, while you imagine white light entering every pore of your being, followed by a short fast exhalation, and then another long inhalation (for as many times as you want), will allow you to absorb a great deal of life force.
- If you are exhaling, then you are distributing and concentrating the energy that your body has or has just acquired through the inhalation. Therefore by making and exhalation far longer than the inhale, you make yourself stronger, more solid.For example you can imagine the energy of your body being channeled into a particular Chakra, so that as you breathe out, that particular energy center grows brighter from the energy and power that you are delivering there. If you are injured, you can project energy into the injured area and speed up healing.
P.S. Read Chakras and apply what you have learned.