Breathing, the most natural thing we can do; from the first inhale at birth to the last exhale at death, every breath in between is regulated by the innate wisdom of the body, and is activated by a trigger response in the brain part known as the medulla oblongata (the red part of the image above). It's the one physiological internal functions of the body that we have control over and can self regulate, and in my view it's our greatest medicine.
This part of the brain emits impulses that inspire you to take a breath, and this comes as a result of a natural bodily occurrence, the fluctuating balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood. As carbon dioxide (Co2) builds in the cells, certain chemo-receptors in the body alert your brain "Houston, we have a problem!" and send an impulse to regulate this by forcing a contraction of the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles surrounding the ribs. This forces us to inhale deeply taking in more oxygen (O2), which in turn triggers a process of self regulation of levels of Co2 and O2, a balance vital for cellular vitality and blood health. As air rushes into the lungs, the brain stops it's 'alert' signal and the diaphragm and ribs relax...ad infinitum!
Most of us however, despite this innate response do not take in anywhere near our lung capacity in oxygenated fresh air, nor do we fully and completely exhale the waste air that will remain in the lungs if we are perpetually shallow breathing.
On average, people inhale and exhale a total of 500 ml of air with each breath, however we can take in much more than this. The amount of air we inhale and expel is known as the tidal volume, or TV. The maximum volume of air that can move through your lungs is known as your Vital Capacity, and by breathing deeply, we can generally reach a volume of 3,100 ml, quite different to the average 500 right?
Some of the air we breathe in never even reaches our lungs, how funky is that! This 'homeless' air is known as 'dead space' and is the air that lingers in your pharynx, trachea and nasal cavities, places where the earlier mentioned gaseous exchange doesn't happen, and that's ok, it just means there's always more air we can consciously take into our lungs by intentionally increasing our capacity to breathe deeply.
As a breath worker, and a regular breather, I am constantly amazed by what I discover in the stories in my body which lie just beyond the breath. I have lain down to breathe convinced there's nothing much to do and been in deep process within minutes, and equally, when I've imagined there was some big 'work' to do, I've experienced unparalleled lightness of being.
What is consistent for me however, is that this breathing technique has immense healing powers. It takes me to places I have long since forgotten, relegated to parts of my subconscious mind to gather dust in some wee corner, allowing these dusty parts of my psyche to rule the show in the form of emotional, mental or physical triggers. I've managed to tame many of my triggers these days, to recognise them for what they are, illusions of conditioning, however, that taming has come about through a willingness to go there and persistently do the work.
I am passionately committed to breathwork; it's become crystal clear to me it's my life purpose and the representation of my soul medicine. The breathing part of my work I have called INSPIRE BREATH as I believe that true liberation comes not only in the physical act of INSPIRING, but in the space we create from healing our stories, freedom comes riding in, lightness finds its place, and we really do experience inspiration; the releasing of the chains that have bound us that allows us to return to our essence, our true nature as emissaries of love.
For all of my upcoming breathwork sessions and collaborations, please go to my what's on page. Inspire yourself!
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
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