Monday, March 10, 2014

Take a Deep Breath: It Could Make You Healthier

I saw something really disturbing making its way around the Internet last week. It was an image of Valeria Lukyanova, a Ukrainian woman who refers to herself as a real-life Barbie. But Lukyanova isn’t content with her already paper thin waist. See, she participates in a New Age practice is known as Breatharianism. Its followers neither eat nor drink, believing they can exist solely on “cosmic micro-food.”
“In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all,” Valeria Lukyanova told the International Business Times. “I’m hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone.”
Just so we’re clear, that’s not what this article is about. You cannot exist on a diet of air and light. However, increasing the amount of air you consume, and doing it in a different, more purposeful way, could indeed have a positive impact on your health. Not by making you as grotesquely skinny as a Barbie, but by increasing oxygen flow, reducing stress, and increasing vital energy and alertness.
Bad Breathing Patterns
Did you know all breaths are not created equal? According to Mother Earth News, poor breathing patterns “may actually contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, muscle tension, headaches and fatigue.” Breathing through your mouth, shallow breathing (doesn’t engage the diaphragm) and rapid breathing (also called chest or thoracic breathing) are all examples of the wrong way to breathe.
Beneficial Breathing Exercises
Like everything, proper breathing takes practice. Unlike other exercises, some of the positive benefits of proper breathing can be felt instantly. If you practice yoga or meditation on a regular basis, you’re likely familiar with some of these breathing exercises. If not, the info below should get you started.  (MORE)

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