I am fighting a battle; I fear I am losing. It started as a cute blossom filled spring-time allergy that morphed into an angry full-blown, noisy nose blowing, scratchy throat coughing, body aching, ugly cold. I continue to fight with a steady stream of tea, oregano drops, and uplifting mantras like “I am healthy and happy…I am healthy and happy….I breathe freely and efficiently”…. to no avail.
This situation comes at a most inconvenient time while I’m trying to learn how to breathe. You heard me….I’m trying to learn how to breathe. Sure, I know how to automatically breathe, but not as efficiently, smoothly and mindfully as I’d like. I’m reading The Yoga of Breath by Richard Rosen. I have yet to work on the suggested practices because….you know…my current battle with snot.
Why do I need to learn how to breathe better? Rosen writes,
She [The efficient breather] breathes slowly, which streamlines the breath, with the free and easy movement of diaphragm, engaging the entire torso (in fact the entire body). She mostly breathes through the nose, which filters, warms or cools as needed, and humidifies the breath. Nose breathing naturally slows the exhale, because the nostrils offer more resistance o the breath than the mouth, and gives the lungs enough time to extract the maximum amount of oxygen and energy from each breath. With the correct proportion of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, which dilate the blood vessels, blood and oxygen circulate smoothly and easily through the efficient breather’s body and brain. The full excursion of the diaphragm and the well-toned abdominals massage internal organs, like the heart and intestines, and so improve digestion and elimination. Efficient breathing activates the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and the relaxation response. In all, the efficient breather is much calmer, more clearheaded, and probably healthier and happier, than her inefficient friend.
At the moment, I am clearly not an efficient breather. I can feel the shallowness of my breath that makes me feel anxious and annoyed with myself. Perhaps, my current battle makes me appreciate the need for slow, sustained breathing more than I would otherwise.
Maybe I have better motivation to breathe my best when I can.
I learned about Richard Rosen on the Yoga Land Podcast. Thank you, Andrea Ferretti!! Check it out at https://www.acast.com/yogaland/richardrosenonlookingbacktogoforward
Wishing all of you smooth breathing,