Though you breathe all day and night you have no idea if the quality and integrity of your functional breathing is helping or hindering you. I found this so fascinating it has become my primary interest in terms of practice and study for the past 25 years.
In order to breathe a vast respiratory apparatus and neuronal programming is required (1). It is deeply wired. However, based on changes to our lifestyle as we grow and eventually age both this respiratory set of muscles and organs, as well as the integrity of nervous impulses that direct it, typically reduce in efficiency. This affects our physical health as well as our response to that state of health and other stimuli impacting us each day. Though the breath is by and large an involuntary process, it has the unique capacity for conscious intervention whereby we can manipulate the motion of breathing. Done well, with understanding, it can change our entire physiology and how we feel mentally. That is powerful.
On a positive note, it is never too late to implement lifestyle changes to improve both your physical and mental well-being. This includes practice with the breath. A study published last week on middle-aged women who sustained lifestyle changes, especially in terms of diet and exercise, reduced stroke risk by 25% and ischemic stroke by 36% (2). Statistics or not, those are huge benefits. So use this article and video to trigger a simple but life benefitting daily breathwork routine practice.