The Breathing

Breathing is a very important part of our lives, yet we rarely pay the attention it deserves. We can spend many days without food, without water, but we can not go a minute without breathing. Breathing is an act that unites us with other beings of creation. And not just because all creation breathe, fills and empties, they expand and contract, but because it makes us share breathing air and energy. That is, the air coming inside me, then goes inside you and then within an animal or plant, etc. Somehow the air-power, together with breathing unites us.

Normally, we breathe unconsciously, it is as if some higher intelligence always be alert and not allow us to stop breathing. Through breathing we get to communicate with this intelligence. Many cultures and spiritual traditions use the breath to reach a communion with the spiritual world . Breathing is the way that leads us to our inner in a natural and simple way. But before getting into all this, let's look at the different types of breathing.

Types of breathing

Below you can see the main types of breathing. Although there are complex exercises that use breathing to reach higher states of consciousness, here we will only see the basic shapes.

  • Shoulders breathing. As its name suggests, is a breath in which we raise the shoulders slightly breathing. It is customary to produce in a natural way when we have made ​​a great effort and catch air very quickly. It is very shallow breathing, as it fills only the upper part of the lungs.

  • Chest breathing. We can see this type of breathing when chest swell. A type of breathing less shallow than the previous one because in it, we fill the top half of the lungs. But the air will not reach the bottom.

  • Abdominal breathing or bottle breathing. This breathingis  performed when we swell belly breathing. Of the three main types, this is the breath that captures more air into the lungs. First lungs begin to fill from the bottom and then the middle part is filled. Just as if fill a bottle of water, which would begin to fill the bottom and the water would rise. This breathing makes a gently massage on all the abdominal organs.

  • Full breathing. This type of breathing is not a natural breathing. That is, you need to make a conscious effort to do it. It is a type of breathing used in disciplines such as Yoga and Chi Kung to capture the maximum energy from the air and fully oxygenate the brain. This type of breathing is the sum of the previous three. First we start by taking the air down, doing abdominal breathing. When the bottom of the lungs is full, do the chest breathing, so fill the middle part of the lungs. And when the middle is full, we do shoulders breathing to fill the top of your lungs. Thus, in each breath, we completely fill our lung capacity.

When we are babies, we all breathe abdominally. This is the most natural and healthy way to breathe. As we get older and we are worrying about things and stressing, our breathing begins to become more shallow and start to breathe in pectoral way. There have been numerous studies which show that the way we breathe directly affects our mood. Abdominal breathing leads to a state of natural relaxation, however, a chest breathing leads to a state of nervousness and dissatisfaction. It would be interesting and beneficial to you that from now you will observe breathing on you. And whenever you detect that your breathing is not abdominal, bring it gently to abdominally breathing. Only with this simple practice, you will see how your life is transformed and becomes more calm and relaxed.

It is important to take breath in and take breath out by the nose. The nose is a part of our body that is specially designed to have a contact with air. I mean, it is who does the job of filtering the air as dust particles or other things, and others, makes the function of heating the air. The lungs work better if the air reaches them clean and warm, close to body temperature. Thus, the nose acts as a filter, humidify and warm the air we breathe. On the breath out, it is also important to do it through the nose, as the hot air exiting the body is tapped to keep the entire respiratory tract, including the nose, warm.

The ideal breathing sequence is:

  • Take breath in.

  • Pause.

  • Take breath out.

  • Pause.

After inspire, we pause to give time to the gaseous and energetic exchange occurs in the lungs occurs. And we do a pause after breath out, relax momentarily the entire respiratory system. This is the healthiest way to breathe, abdominally, and with this sequence.

It would be good if you were doing a little exercise to see how you breathe. And once you have detected how you breathe, make a small effort to bring your breathing at its natural way of being. To start taking good respiratory habits, it is ideal lay down on the floor, face up and watch. As if you were a baby. Let go and let nature do its job, you just watch. Once you have understood how you have to breathe, try to put it into practice in your daily life. At different times of the day, remember breathing and correct it if necessary. If it become a practice, there will be a time when you breathe correctly and without thinking about breathing.

Breathing and Meditation

One of the most powerful and simple meditations that there are is breathing. Like I said before, it is a very natural way to connect with our essence. Breathing takes us inward, quietly and effortlessly. There are two ways of doing this meditation.

  • Simple observation. I mean, let the breath go alone and simply observe. We can focus our attention on two points: the nose, looking for the exact spot where the air make contact to us, or looking at the belly, watching the sway of breath, or even watch it all together. At first, counting the breath can help us to meditate. We can count each full breath, or count every breath in and breath out. Likewise, our attention must be directed to the body and not to the numbers. As if the count would work automatically or it were in the background, but we keep us attentive to the flow of the breath. For example, we can count in cycles of 10 to 10, that is when we get to 10 we start from scratch.

  • Voluntary breathing. This type of breathing can go very well if you have noticed that you do not breathe properly. This form of meditation is to consciously breathe properly. I mean, you take breath in, pause, you take breath out, pause and abdominally breathing always. Making a small conscious effort to our breathing follows in this way.

As already discussed in other sections of the web, the essence of meditation is the inner silence, interrupt the flow of thoughts. In meditation with breathing, simply the use of breathing to enter on this state free of thoughts is meditation.

Article written by Miquel Vidal.