As Eddie Vedder says "Just Breathe"... This is one of my favorite songs, not just because I can listen to it again & again, but because it reminds me how much I love to breathe with those I love. It is also a great reminder for our health: Just Breathe!
If you don't know what I am talking about, comedian Jon Lajoie has a great infomercial about the importance of breathing. My massage therapist friend Jacqueline can always tell when I am stressed. She looks right at me, says "Breathe Bonita!" and takes a few breaths with me to make sure I again become fully oxygenated. Thank you so much for that, Jacquie! You really help me calm down from the little chest tightening stresses of every day living.
Aside from the loving, relaxing, romantic, sexual and comedic reasons for breathing... Don't forget our primary need for oxygen - from our skin and lungs down to our cellular level. Even our molecules & atoms need us to breathe! Breathing keeps your blood oxygenated so it can pump & flow through your body. Well oxygenated blood also helps your body distribute and absorb your vitamins, especially Vitamins C, D & the Bs. Vitamins A & K (found in the same food as C, D & Bs) help your blood maintain oxygen levels. This is a brilliant symbiotic relationship! These vitamins are also key with maintaining your physical health and emotional well being, especially in the dark months of winter. I personally find this amazing! Our bodies know better than we do that breathing well helps us live well.
The other thing about breathing deeply & fully is that it helps maintain your lung health. When you breathe shallowly, you only use the portion of your lungs closest to your trachea & bronchus. The exterior part, the part that all the mucus likes to settle into, becomes weak and dirty, covered with hardening mucus and easily infected nodules. Shallow breathing makes you more susceptible to colds, viruses, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc... Like any muscle, use it or lose it! We really have to work harder at this in the winter than the summer.
Another interesting thing about breathing fully: If you maintain a "core" posture, you are all set to breathe well. You back is straight and your shoulders are relaxed.
Besides the "added health value", breathing well is relaxing! One reason cigarette smokers are more hooked during times of stress is that when they inhale the smoke, they breathe deeply. Don't get me started on WHAT they are breathing deeply... or about the physically addictive values of smoking. There is a lot of interesting information about it... but for this piece, just think about the tricky (not always healthful) ways our bodies get us to breathe even when we don't want to. Also remember this: Hey Smokers! You don't need the cigarette! JUST BREATHE! Your body will thank you later.