Oxygen is the most essential element to life – this we all know. All the functions of our body are regulated by oxygen. In fact 90% of our life energy depends upon it. It goes without saying that oxygen is essential in building and maintaining our bodies.
According to Dr. David S. Dyer the author of Cellfood Vital Cellular Nutrition for the New Millennium says that the levels of vital oxygen throughout the world are decreasing due to industry, technological advancement, modern transportation and forest depletion. As if this is not bad enough, consider this, if you live in a city and or take antibiotics your oxygen levels are depleted further. Every time we experience emotional stress, hormonal disruption, physical trauma, infections or viruses our oxygen levels drop. Poor eating habits, alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise just add fuel to the fire.
I don’t know about you but the above facts disturbed me and certainly inspired me to incorporate a deep breathing practice into my daily routine. I’d like to share with you the breathing technique I am currently enjoying. My wonderful acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist Francis at TCM Balance teaches his clients this technique to increase their lung capacity as well as oxygenate their blood. Like most breathing techniques this is very calming as it is also a mindfulness exercise.
Lie down on your back making sure you are comfortable and warm and close your eyes. Breathe slowly in through your nose, aiming to build up to at least 15 seconds using the 101, 102 method of counting. Use the Yogic breath method – fill your abdomen first, then stomach and diaphragm and then draw the air to the top of the lungs.
Exhale through your mouth for 15 seconds and as you do, pull up your pelvic floor. This creates a vacuum according to Francis which helps increase your lung capacity.
Expel the air from the top of the lungs first, then diaphragm, stomach and abdomen. Do this exercise for 15 minutes or more. As your lung capacity increases you’ll find you can handle the 15 second count with ease so slowly increase the inhalation and exhalation time to comfortably suit your requirements.
Focusing all your attention on the count and the breath helps induce a meditative state and a welcome escape from your everyday cares and tireless mind chatter.
I like to maximise this experience by incorporating visualisation as well. A Course in Miracles says that there are two emotions – love and fear. The rest come under the banner of either category. Love of course incorporates all positive emotions and the higher aspects of ourselves whilst fear incorporates the emotions that do not serve us well and hold us back.
On the ‘in’ breath I draw in love. I imagine love as pure, white and healing. I visualise it filling my body and gently sweeping out all that does not serve me. I see the ‘out’ breath as discoloured as I exhale fear and I see it leaving my body and dissipating into nothingness.
Combining the above breathing technique with the love visualisation I find very calming mentally, physically and emotionally. I love the idea of this combination because flooding our bodies with oxygen enables our bodies to regenerate and serve us well, whilst flooding our bodies with love helps us reach our highest good.
Just as oxygen is the most essential element to life, love is the most essential emotion.