Cooling heels and jeez!

Is it just me or is the world spinning faster these days?! As I run from pillar to post, or rather tree to tree, I can feel the universe, or at other times it’s just my 4 year old, making me wait it out and jeez that’s quite a feeling. Just like I keep my son waiting sometimes deliberately, just cause research saying getting bored or impatient is a great in fact the best way to get creative and be creative. That and then walking and meditating. I am told there is literally nothing better to open up the mind than to take it out for a nice long walk. Mind wandering is a real thing. It is an act of suggesting a topic to the brain and then taking it out on a long walk where the mind wanders as you do, to connect dots and bring things up. For people who don’t get around to meditating, this is a wonderful alternative.

What does one do while one is waiting then? One breathes and that brings me to the book I am currently reading, Breath written by James Nestor. Breathing is a rather natural phenomena and we all do it involuntarily, but sometimes we mind our breath and do it voluntarily. Here’s the thing when we do it voluntarily and modify the we breathe we can modify the way we feel and the body parts coaxing them to even healing. As when we are agitated the breathing pattern changes involuntarily we can even change the way we breathe and will ourselves into another level of agitation altogether. This isn’t news exacting and anyone with a little knowledge of yoga would be aware of how wonderful breathing exercises of Pranayama makes us feel. So elaborating on a serie of experiments, Nestor convinces the reader to one, breathe from the nose, the advice he precisely gives is SHUT YOUR MOUTH, in caps, two, to exhale completely, the advice he gives is to not let any residue air remain before breathing in again, three to breathe slowly taking in about 6 breaths per minute ideally or 13500 breaths per day as the ancient Chinese doctors prescribed or even levering up to 9 breaths per minute as the Tibetan monks do, four, to breathe even lesser air in those six breathes, he says one must sip the air through the nose and exhale atleast twice if not more the time taken to inhale, breathing less means to extend the length of time between inhalations and exhalations, the less one breathes, the more one absorbs the warming touch of respiratory efficiency. The next most crucial aspect of ensuing open airways, unconjested nose and windpipe is controlled through the act of chewing!

Did you know?

The lungs are the weight-balancing organ of the body. And all the fat that we lose is actually exhaled through the nose. The calories burnt as we colloquially say are actually calories exhaled, there is no burning of fat, just exhalation of fat. And in that regard even doing the nose breathing exercises of Pranayama are just as effective in raising the heart rate to in effect lose weight.

The samurai warriors would check if a soldier is ready for war by placing a feather under his nostril. Only if the feather did not move was the warrior ready to fight. That calm would he have to be before he could be trusted to fight.

When we breathe too much, we expel too much carbon dioxide, and our blood pH rises to become more alkaline; when we breathe slower and hold in more carbon dioxide, pH lowers and blood becomes more acidic, yet all our cellular functions occur at a sweet spot alkaline acidic at a pH of 7.4

Breathing, paced breathing is prayer. If one inhales for 5.5 seconds and exhaled for 5.5 seconds, one completes 5.5 breaths in one minute! That is the entire cycle required to chant, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, the Ave Maria, the Sa ya na ma chant of Kundalini Yoga, the Hindu hand and tongue poses called mudras through a technique called kechari. Incidentally the optimum amount of air we should take in at rest per minute is 5.5 liters. The optimum breathing rate is about 5.5 breaths per minute. That is 5.5-second inhales and 5.5-second exhales.

Mammals with the lowest resting heart rate live the longest. They are also consistently the same mammals that breathe the slowest. The only way to retain a slow resting heart rate is to breath with slow breaths.

The Yogis life is not measured by the number of his days, but the number of his breaths said BKS Iyengar, India’s foremost guru on the practise of Iyengar Yoga. A sickly child, he learnt yoga and breathed himself back to health.

The perfect oral posture means holding the lips together, teeth slightly touching, with the tongue on the roof of the mouth, holding the head up perpendicularly to the body without kinking the neck. While sitting or standing the spine should form a J-shape-perfectly straight until it reaches the small of the back, where it naturally curves outward. While maintaining this posture, we should always breathe slowly through the nose into the abdomen.

Stomping on hard food as the molars grind up food chewing hard, stem cells actually grow bone at the back of our mouths. As our ancestors spent hours a day chewing they managed to steer clear of all orthodontic issues that impact airway systems in our bodies and hence had no issues with their teeth.

Inner fire or Tummo meditation 🧘‍♀️

Expression is the opposite of depression! ~ Chuck McGee III

One can breathe themselves sick just as one can breathe themselves to health, the only criteria being the speed of the breath or how deep or shallow breaths are. The sympathetic nervous system receiver signals are located on the upper half of the lungs, the parasympathetic nervous system receiver signals are located on the lower half of the lungs. Hence deeper inhalations activate the parasympathetic nervous system and hence keeps the calm.

Tummo breathing – lie down, breathe into the abdomen and then the chest, breathe out in the same order for 30 cycles. At the end of 30 cycles, exhale to hold a quarter of air and hold as long as possible. Once you’ve reached your threshold take a huge inhale and hold for another 15 seconds. Slowly exhale circulating the air all over your upper body. Repeat 3-4 rounds, adding in some cold exposure a few times a week. Conscious heavy breathing allows us to bend so we don’t break.

Now, this was one book that I truly savoured or should I sipped, for I did not want these bits of information to slip through my mind at any cost. Plus the way Nestor presents facts is extremely charming and needless to stay I slowed down reading, slowed down breathing and in effect slowed down my life. So much that soon it felt like I wasn’t waiting for life anymore but life was waiting for me, to breathe on!