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helen on The Power of Breath :
I learned breathing at Pilates classes. I wonder if it'... »

The Power of Breath


By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

My first yoga class was as a teenager and I remember being bored rigid. I returned to a class in the early 90's and was the one left snoring while everyone else was rolling up their mats and heading home for dinner. It wasn't until the late 90's when I went to a 6-day health retreat and was so inspired by Jaana, our yoga goddess from Finland, who shone with so much light and wellness that I went in search of what she was having - and found it in breath.

Very few of us breathe properly. Stop and observe your breath right now. Are you breathing deep into your diaphragm or is your breath so shallow your chest is concave and your lungs hardly move? Chances are that it's the latter.

A study conducted on a group of adults receiving treatment for Type 2 Diabetes in conjunction with three months of diaphragmatic breathing, reported a significant reduction in BMI, hip to waist ratio, glycaemic control, and oxidative chemical by-products, and an increase in the antioxidants vitamin C and glutathione. Yoga and deep breathing helps people control their blood sugar levels, and reduce free radical damage by producing antioxidants to protect the body
But not just any antioxidants: Glutathione has been described as the mother of all antioxidants. It's recognised in over 100, 000 peer-reviewed scientific papers as a powerhouse molecule and health experts believe the majority of us are deficient in it. Some health professionals believe they can predict longevity by testing levels of glutathione in individuals.
Glutathione has a number of functions including protection against oxidative damage, detoxifying toxins produced through metabolism and breaking down fats produced in the liver.

It's pretty exciting to think through the practise of breath you can alter your body shape, manage blood sugar levels (and as a consequence your appetite) and produce antioxidants that help clean up your body and slow down the aging process.

My own personal experience of yoga and breathing is this: After the first few classes where I spent the whole time concentrating on the postures, I began to think less and breathe more. In time there was no movement without breath. Outside the yoga class, I had no desire to eat poor quality food, or eat too much (I am at heart a very greedy little pig), and like Jaana, good health shone from me - or so people said. Research suggests that yoga acts as a trigger in self-awareness and awareness for adapting healthy eating habits. Certainly it was the case for me.

Many years on I still practise yoga and have learned through observing all levels of ability that the "wellness" response does not come from the strongest, most flexible body. It comes from the regular practise of deep breathing.

I invite you to try: Incorporate regular deep breathing practise into your daily life and find out for yourself whether the desire to overeat and the desire to eat the types of food that do not nourish your body subsides. There's nothing to lose - after all, air is free.

Comments

helen
Jul 6 2017 2:04PM
I learned breathing at Pilates classes. I wonder if it's the same method? When lying on the floor with knees up a bit, breath deep into your diaphragm, expanding your ribs outwards with out lifting your shoulders. then when exhaling push our tummy to the floor and expel the air from the lowest area first. then hold your tummy in that position while taking the next breath. I think that is fairly close to that what I was taught. I certainly use m breath to advantage when I am moving those weights around at the gym.
Comment by: helen

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