Sometimes I imagine our bodies as bags of chemicals arranged in a very complex way. This sounds bizarre but it’s true. In terms of mass, we’re about 65% oxygen, 18% carbon, 10% hydrogen, 3% nitrogen and the rest is a concoction of other gases and metals. Enter anything into that mixture and it will react in one way or another. Don’t enter enough of something and you’ll see other effects.
More simply, and slightly less bizarre, our bodies are composed of three physical phases: solids, liquids and gases. The same could be said for any other matter. It’s just basic science. Roughly speaking, these three phases are nourished and cleansed in distinct ways. We eat and defecate solids, drink and urinate liquids, inhale and exhale gases. You can live for a few weeks without solids, maybe a week without liquids, and a few minutes without breathing. In terms of survival, the ordering of these three nutrients is clear. If stranded in the Sahara, wouldn’t we all give up food before drink, and drink before breath? It’s simple – breathing is very important.
In terms of health, which is a shade of survival, why do we place so little focus on breathing? Watching what we eat and how much we exercise has become a cultural standard (And that’s great). Yet breathing, the way we access our most essential nutrient – oxygen, is not given nearly any attention at all.
I thought my lungs were a doing great job until I had a closer look. I’m guilty of shallow breathing, mouth breathing, and irregular breathing.
It turns out there are a whole host of health benefits to breathing deeply and rhythmically.
Here is my experiment to correct my breathing.