Wisdom in Living

Friday, June 16, 2017

Why Human Breath Can Heal

Human breath can heal. It may seem incredible to many, but this is the truth of the matter. Human breath has much to do with wisdom -- your wisdom to focus on the present moment, to de-stress yourself (the source and the underlying cause of many diseases and disorders).

Breath is the gift of life. Without breath, you are going to die within minutes. Breath is critically important not only to life and living, but also to healing. However, it is equally important that you are aware of your breath, because your awareness means you are aware of many other things in life, such as your heath, your diet, and, in particular, your thinking, which is mindfulness. This awareness will let you make changes in your lifestyle, such as giving up smoking and drinking.

Unfortunately, you may have become totally unaware of your breath because breathing is so spontaneous that it is second nature to you.

Everyday you may also be bombarded with hypes by the multi-media and modern technology; they become toxic thoughts in your mind, controlling how you think, just as the French philosopher Descartes’ famous statement: “I think; therefore, I am.” In other words your thinking mind controls your everyday decisions that may affect your capability to heal over the long haul.

But how is breath related to healing?

First of all, correct breathing is critical to your health. Babies breathe naturally. But as you grow up, your breath becomes compromised, getting worse and not better with each day passing.

Correct breathing affects your posture, which affects your physique, including your physical health. Correct breathing means you breathe in sufficient oxygen and breathe out as much as possible all the toxic fumes and carbon dioxide from your body. Breathing is a natural rejuvenation and detoxification process. Unfortunately, you may have incomplete or compromised breathing, leading to shortness of breath and accumulation of toxins inside your body. To have correct breathing (which means the breathing out should be longer than the breathing in) and complete breath (which means you use your diaphragm—the muscle between the lungs and the tummy—to push air and fill up the upper lungs), you have to be mindful of your breath—the breath to heal.

Awareness of your breath also means quieting your mind. A quiet mind—when you are totally aware of how your breathe in and breathe out, how the air goes in and out of your nostrils, how your diaphragm muscles move up and down—momentarily stops your compulsive mind from thinking. In other words, a quiet mind relaxes your whole being.  According to St. Theresa of Avila, the mind is like an unbridled horse wandering randomly, and your role is to train your horse, and gently bring it back to the right course. When your mind is quiet, your stress disappears, and your healing begins to take place.

The Chinese breath is healing breath: it helps you effectively and efficiently use oxygen 24 hours a day. The Chinese breath lowers your blood pressure, calms your nerves, and alleviates your body pain, if there is any. In addition, the Chinese breath improves the overall emotional health through clarity of the mind.

According to Chinese medicine, the two most important health regulators of the body are breath and blood flow. Optimum breathing brings oxygen to every cell in your organs and tissues; while smooth blood flow carries nutrients to nourish them. Without the efficient functioning of breath and blood flow, the overall health of an individual is compromised, resulting in imbalance and disharmony, which are the obstacles to healing.

Hence, the importance of the human breath cannot be overstated. Your body organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, glands, and digestive valves are all connected to the diaphragm, which basically moves the air circulation within the body when you breathe (not the chest) in and out. Without moving the diaphragm, you breathe only partially and incompletely. The Chinese breath focuses on correct breathing with the diaphragm. Essentially, when your diaphragm does down, your lungs fill up with air; when your diaphragm goes up, your lungs push the air out, expelling the toxic carbon dioxide. Incomplete breathing (when you use your lungs, instead of the diaphragm, to breathe in and breathe out) leads to accumulation of toxic wastes in the lungs and in other parts of your body organs and tissues. Diaphragm breathing is correct breathing to boost health and wellness, thereby promoting self-healing.

Tai Chi Exercises for Life and Health: You only need to change the way you breathe to transform your physical and mental health! Learn to breathe right!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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