I read an incredible book a few years ago called ‘The Breathing Book’ by Donna Farhi. In the book, she makes some remarkable claims that we don’t really think about that much. She says that when you walk on pavement, your body goes into a kind of ‘mini spasm’ and your internal organs tense up quite a bit, and that exact tensing moment really plays havoc with your breathing.
When your walking along, your vision is, of course focused on looking straight ahead. Some of that field of vision can actually see part of the ground directly in front of your feet, and then sends a signal to your brain saying ‘look out, we know that’s pavement (really hard unforgiving ground) your about to walk on, and the involuntary body tensing begins, and interrupts your breathing pattern allot. See the amazing things that you find out when you read?
The author takes you through the very real benefits of showing you just how important the art and science of breathing is all about. I practice breathing 3 times per day when I study Chi Kung and Yang Style Tai Chi. You just would not believe the difference between putting your breathing patterns on auto pilot, or making a concentrated effort to practice healthy breathing. It improves digestion, healing, improves oxygen delivery to the lungs, provides mental clarity and the list goes on and on.
Have you ever observed the way a baby breathes? From the lower tummy, or abdomen, not the chest, and that’s the challenge with most of us. We breathe from the wrong place in our bodies. As we grow up we inherently forget that we slowly change many things in our lives. We get busy and accept more ‘responsibility’ like school, then perhaps pose secondary education such as college or university, and then you get a job, have a mortgage, have kids, then your paying for someone else’s post secondary education. Stress causes us to do many things, including how not to properly breathe. It’s just one of those things that we take for granted, but don’t give it much thought. After all, we all know how to breathe right? Perhaps. All I know is that when I practice my Chi Kung and Tai Chi, it is a gentle reminder how to gain benefits from a very powerful and popular form of Kung Fu that has been successfully used in China for thousands of years.