The Art Of Breathing And Why It Matters

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The Art Of Breathing And Why It Matters

Post: # 20Post DrJessieND »


Believe it or not, one of the most fundamental requirements for increasing our intelligence is restoring our natural breathing ability. Between modern birth practices and current high chronic stressors, most of us barely breathe enough to foster more aliveness, a marker of intelligence.

Let’s start with our modern birth practice: Childbirth is a medical emergency. Once the baby is out of the mother, they are held upside down and whacked on the butt to elicit that first breath. Well, given the harshness of this physical abuse, the infant’s first breath is one of terror and intense pain as it over breathes in reaction to the stress. As the room temperature air enters the airways, into the lungs, it sears as it goes in! This immediately registers in the brain as a terrible idea, and a visceral decision gets made: "I will NEVER breathe that fully again!" coupled with a few more clear decisions about how unsafe other humans are, how they cannot be trusted, etc. This begins a tragic series of belief systems about how life works. Life, it turns out, is NOT safe. We call this birthing trauma in the field of conscious breath work.

No one considers this, however, and if all else is normal, the infant appears to simply cry and then settle down. As they inhale, their precious little bellies swell with air, and as they exhale their bellies go back down. But they will never breathe fully again.

Contrast that with an indigenous childbirth, or natural child birth. There are no bright lights, no harsh treatments; the infant is with the mother, the umbilical cord attached immediately after birth. FACT: infants do not need to breathe when the cord is intact and attached! As the cord starts to wane, it sends signals to the infant and they gradually begin the breathing process.

When my infant daughter, Karina took her first breath, she was still in the warm water (We did a water birth) and it actually was an exhale, blowing a slight bubble out of her mouth. This was a very different picture than the one before, with that real birthing trauma. She was calm, and relaxed, and never developed that hatred for a full breath.

Now the child with birthing trauma (read any kid in modern culture) is going off to kindergarten, first grade and starting to socialize and getting taught a ton of rules. They are disciplined and punished for bad behavior. By the time they are 8 or 9, all of their breathing has moved up into their chests, with little to no abdominal movement. In other words, they have LOST their belly breathing!

I witnessed this over and over in my practices, small children with almost no diaphragmatic breathing left. I saw way too many adults who couldn’t take a proper breath. I knew to pay attention to this because my personal mentor in Holistic Health, Theresa Dale had actually taught me how to properly breathe, pushing my belly out on the inhale, and contracting it back in on the exhale. I had been doing it exactly backwards!

When I began to practice conscious breath work, which is, essentially proper breathing on steroids, I was truly inspired by how much conscious connection came from that practice.

We would breathe in and out of the mouth, filling our lungs and bellies, forming a circle with the inhale and exhale. It was called Rebirthing, and also Integrative Breathing. The idea was to lie down, and breathe on a particular topic/belief system that was limiting and potentially self-destructive. Notions like "My Body is Not Safe," are exactly what we wanted to undo, and neutralize. Staying with how our body reacted to this belief while continuously breathing allowed for healing, and the dissolution of these energies in our neural networks.

I had to do a ton of work here. I found the circular breathing difficult to maintain, and had to develop a very specific discipline to keep going as the sessions lasted usually 1.5 to 2 hours and no real breaks. My relationship with my body started to transform as my breath kept opening up. I started getting high, tingly all over, and found myself in altered states in most of the sessions. I also used my hot tub and snorkel, and even ice cubes in the bathtub to train myself to regulate my metabolism through the breath.

I fell in love with my breath. I learned to regulate my moods and mind with my breath, which I am still learning about. My consciousness has increased dramatically. I am still in love with my breath, and will be sharing tons about how you, too can practice the Art of Breathing.

What are your thoughts about this?