Controlling our breath is the first muscle we learn to control as babies. Air is the most vital nutrient we bring into our bodies. We can survive without food for three weeks, without water for three days, but without air for only three minutes. Did you ever consider that air was more important than food or water?
We breath 18,000-28,000 times a day, but most of us don’t pay much attention to it. If we can improve our breathing, think about all the changes that can happen over all that repetition throughout the day. We are going to talk about basic breathing at rest. When you are exercising or doing certain activities your breathing will change, but at rest, your breath can become more efficient and that can have many effects.
When we breath, we use our diaphragm to create breath. Our diaphragm is a parachute shaped muscle that lines the bottom of our rib cage. It separates our heart and lunges above from the rest of our internal organs below.
When we activate our diaphragm, the dome of the parachute contracts downward which has three effects.
The first is that it creates negative pressure in our lungs, and that is what pulls air in.
The second is that it compresses down on our internal organs, resulting in them pressing outward and expanding our belly.
The third is that it strokes and soothes the vagus nerve which runs through the diaphragm.
When we exhale, the parachute domes back up, pushing air out, allowing our internal organs to recoil while continuing to stroke and soothe the vagus nerve.
The first action of pulling air in and pushing air out is basic ventilation. By inhaling we bring oxygen (O2) in, and by exhaling we remove carbon dioxide (CO2). While our living tissues need O2 to function, the primary goal of breathing is to get excess CO2 out of our system.
The second action of compressing and recoiling is important for our internal organs to have mobility and motility. Mobility is the ability to move up, down, left, or right, while motility is the ability to compress, recoil, and oscillate in space. Your internal organs need movement just like your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. They get cleansed and nourished through movement, so we want to encourage efficient motion with all that breathing throughout the day.
The third action is the stroking and soothing of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the connection of your brain and your gut. It’s part of our parasympathetic nervous system, which tells you to rest and digest. By stimulating this nerve with diaphragmatic breathing, we can calm our nervous system and relax our mind and body together. #snowbeastperformance