Before trying the technique of deep breathing, it is important to understand breathing mechanism in the body. The above diagram will help you understand the various steps involved in this process.
When you breathe properly (that is with the mouth closed so that the air is inhaled through nasal passages) oxygen travels down the pharynx (rear of the throat), the larynx (roughly in the area of Adam’s apple), and the trachea or windpipe until it reaches the bronchial tubes. By then most of the dust and bacteria have been filtered out by the mucous membranes, or the moist lining of the nose.
Mucous, by the way, in addition to acting as a filter substances, also has certain germicidal properties-another reason why it is so important to cultivate the habit of breathing though the nose. A third reason is that while traveling this somewhat longer road the air is warmed to proper body temperature, which means extra insurance against catching colds.
After having thus filtered and warmed, the supply of air moves on from the bronchiae into the lungs. Here it enters millions of cells-600,000,000 of them to be exact, if you can visualize such an astronomic figure-each of which is a tiny air sac. Surrounding these is a network of equally tiny blood vessels or capillaries. The blood absorbs the fresh oxygen directly through the cell walls at the same time as it rids itself of the carbon dioxide from the last trip.
Next the freshly oxygenated blood travels to the heart. The heart pumps it via arteries and blood vessels to every part of the body, where in turn it seeps into every tissue and bone cell. In this manner 800 quarts of blood pass through the heart and lungs every hour. Small wonder, then that the condition of your heart so closely governs you life expectancy !
By now it should be amply clear why both a proper technique of breathing and the quality of the air we take in are of such vital importance to our general health.
The practice of deep breathing produces immediate beneficial results. The person begins to experience lightness of body, an absence of restlessness, better digestion due to an increase in the flow of the gastric juices, clearing and smoothing of the skin. The physiological benefits I have already explained-now let the person discover for himself how quickly these will come to him once he establishes a daily routine of exercises.
As for the spiritual well-being that will follow – the inner lightness, the serenity- it matters little whether you attribute them to oxygen burning out the wastes and poison in your gray matter or to more subtle influences, the important thing is that it is all yours to enjoy at will.
From about fifteen breath a minute-or 21,600 each 24 hour-you will have reduced your tempo by possibly three breath a minute, which is twenty percent, or 4,320 per day. Such a slowing-down means a corresponding easing of the wear-and-tear on the entire body-less work for the heart, lower blood pressure, a relaxation of body tensions, and a quieter nerves-in short, still another way to lengthen the years of your life and make them enjoyable !
The main problem with most of us is to learn how to keep breathing deeply continuously. We are so much accustomed to normal shallow breathing that it seems very difficult to adopt a habit of deep breathing. Since we start taking breath from the moment we come into this world, breathing has become an old habit.
If we are taking shallow breath (which in all likelihood we do), it is really difficult to alter this habit of shallow breathing and replace it with a new habit of deep breathing. However, it is not impossible and can be done. All that you need to make deep breathing a habit is a persistence effort.
Now I shall describe two very effective and easy methods for learning deep breathing . By using these simple exercises of breathing and awareness, which can be done anywhere, you can instantly learn how to breath deeply without a conscious effort. Just from the very first attempt, you’ll start breathing deeply.