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BREATH

Hello, and welcome to another entry into my public journal where I get to explore different topics that I not only find to be super fascinating but are also foundational to optimal health, our birthright. I hope that these will prove to give you a bit of a different perspective to view life and the culture in which we are surrounded. Nothing would make me happier than to see more folks throughout the world make decisions in their life that are Life or Dream affirmative. By doing that, we are helping and loving ourselves and the world, and that positive energy will be supported. That’s how big change begins, with you and me.


Wow.. I don’t know where that mini tangent came from, but I’m going to leave it for ya…


Today I wanted to talk a bit about our breath. Again, like these other topics that I have only begun to get into, breath is a topic with so many facets that it can be daunting to begin to try to encapsulate it in a single sitting. Now saying that, here’s my first attempt at just that.


Our breath mirrors our mind and anchors our soul in the body. The body is intimately connected to the mind and both have great influence on each other. Breathing directly influences our physiology and our bodies are in constant communication with our higher selves and vice versa. The higher self I am referring to can be conceived or classified as several things but all refer to our non-physical thinking and feeling selves. They can be classified as the mental or ego self, the emotional self and/or the spirit self or the Astral body.


Another way to approach this topic is through a more scientific approach. When we think of the mind/body connection in these terms, we think of the Nervous system. For this format, I will briefly go through the basics.


The Nervous System is divided into the Peripheral Nervous System which controls our conscious movement and our physical sensations. The other side of the coin is the Central Nervous System that controls bodily functions that are not controlled by conscious thought, ie your heart beat, blood pressure and peristalsis.


The Central Nervous System has 3 parts; the Enteric Nervous System, the Sympathetic Nervous System, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. For this post’s concerns I am going to primarily stick with the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System.


The Enteric Nervous System, by the way, is also known as the second brain and controls our gastrointestinal function and can operate independently from the brain and spinal column. It is however directly influenced by both the Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous Systems. This system is deserving of its own post and will get that opportunity in the near future.


The Autonomic Nervous System which is out of our conscious control and is the domain of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems that regulate our “fight or flight” stress response in relation to our “rest and digest” state of being through the regulation and release of hormones. I don’t have the time or space here to dive into the many causes of and the chronic illnesses that come from an overactive Sympathetic System or ‘stress’ response. I will dive into that one here at some point soon as well.


I know, I know.. Connect the dots… Breath like our heart beat is controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System, and when our attention is elsewhere both continue to function keeping us alive. But unlike our heart beat we can consciously control our breath. So what implications does that have for us?


Through our breath we can consciously up regulate or down regulate our Autonomic State. This means that when we are in a stressful state, either perceived or actual, we can consciously bring ourselves down out of that up regulated internal state through intentional breathing. Allowing ourselves to see outside of the tunnel vision created by the “fight or flight” response, allowing us to think critically and rationally and not perpetuate the situation that we are in.


By conscious awareness of our breathing we can monitor our internal state and in so doing we can reduce the global stress on the body that comes from the chronic up regulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System and the catabolic hormones that are released in the process. Through controlled belly breathing we can stay in a predominately Parasympathetic state that promotes rejuvenation and restoration of the body and allows the mind to think rationally and critically. This is super power that many folks don’t even realize that they possess.


Many of us have heard of Prana or Chi and can loosely relate that both have to do with our Life Force energy. And because I’m bringing this up now I am assuming that you have put it together that our breath is foundational in the cultivation of this Life Force within us. To keep it brief and not to get into the philosophies behind these concepts I will approach this from a scientific angle.


The earth, our bodies, and the fluids within them are diamagnetic, meaning that they slightly repel from magnetic fields because on a molecular level all electrons are paired. The air that we breath however, is Paramagnetic meaning that it is slightly attracted to magnetic fields because it has unpaired electrons. When we inhale oxygen and it passes through the lungs and the oxygen is attached to iron particles in the blood these two polarities come into contact. When two opposite poles come together, you can think of a battery or magnet, work potential is created. So when the paramagnetic air is brought into our diamagnetic bodies, ‘work potential’ or our Life Force energy is created.


In conclusion, I’m 40 and for the majority of my life I was either unaware of or for some reason unwilling to acknowledge and embrace the utility and power that I had within my breath. And it wasn’t until I intentionally set out to experientially understand the influence that my breath had on me, my mental state, and my perception of reality, that it all clicked. Once you’ve experienced it there is no denying or going back. Having the ability to consciously regulate our Autonomic state and at the same time having the ability to cultivate our Life Force energy, what more could you want in the pursuit of health and vitality.

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