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Our initiation into this world is with a struggling inhalation of breath, as our young bodies orient themselves to this foreign space we’ve come to know as home. We exit this realm with an inevitable deep, forced and final exhalation of breath.
Between our entry and the final farewell, we’re consistently breathing. But the majority of us are not breathing in the best way according to Emma Ferris, a physiotherapist and breathing coach with breath effect.
“Eighty percent of the population have a breathing dysfunction and have developed poor techniques throughout the years and that can range from breathing through the mouth, breathing through the upper chest and neck muscles, having altered breathing rhythm and rate, or keeping the body in a stress state for long periods,” she explained.
It’s a severe understatement to say that proper breathing improves the quality of life. Science has proven that specific breathing exercises help with anxiety, managing stress, and improving focus just to name some of the benefits.
Better sleep and an improved immune system are also added to the list of life quality improvements when breathing properly is practiced, and it’s not just a shallow automated function. Being conscious of one’s breathing is a great first step to mastering your breath and ensuring how you’re breathing is not causing harm to your health.
Dr. Andrew Weil, who is an author and physician of integrative medicine said, “Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There is no single more powerful – or more simple – daily practice to further your health and wellbeing than breathwork. Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.
This video with Dr. Jack Fieldman on the Dr. Andrew Huberman Podcast takes a deep dive into breathing for mental and physical health and more.
Even when examining sports and art, you will find the importance of breath control and maximization of it being an integral part of those who have mastered their craft and how much mastery they have over it.
Take a look at this video (below) for an example of a master lyricist, Black Thought, rapping for 10 minutes straight with impeccable breath control.
It is a perfect display of the role that breathing properly and the mastery of breath control, being one of the core principles which enables Black Thought to deliver what some consider to be one of the freestyles they have ever witnessed
You will find the same level of mastery as all others who are at the top of their game in sports, and various arts like swimming, racing and archery.
You will find the use of rhythmic breathing while a mother is in labor to ease the challenge that comes with the amazing process of giving birth, or someone may draw a deep breath to center themselves and lower stress levels.
I hope this article gives you a few more reasons to breathe easy to help increase your quality of life for free.
Words by Kaba Abdul Fattaah.