20 May

One of the biggest factors in not only an athletic competition but in handling life’s crazy circumstances is … the control of your breathing.   Lost luggage?  stub your toe first thing in AM?  crying babies?  your kids not listening to you?  the weight is getting heavy?  2 more rounds left of ‘Nancy’?  You must learn to control your breathing.

How is Breathing Rate Controlled

Breathing, we often assume, is an involuntary act. But make a voluntary and conscious effort to control your breathing rate to truly ‘live your life king size’.

Breathing is the first lesson that the world teaches us. To put it correctly, the real fuel of any evolution is breathing. It is an act that gives life, sustains it and takes it away too. Exhalation and inhalation changes speed to work in tandem with our physical activity. Breathing at a certain pace, helps the muscles get adequate oxygen supply. Breathing is very much responsible for the metabolism rate of the body. In medical terms, normal breathing is called ‘eupnea’. Every time we breathe, oxygen is taken in and every time we exhale, carbon dioxide is exhaled out.

Ever wondered, what makes your breathing rate fast? Intensive workout, fast running or any other activity that involves stretching the physical capacity of the body generates high concentration of carbon dioxide. Certainly, as body needs to jettison CO2, it begins to inhale O2 frantically. This process increases the rate of breathing by leaps and bounds.

Breathing Rate
To put it simply, breathing rate is the number of breaths inhaled and exhaled per minute. Its an obvious question, as to how is the breathing rate measured? The answer is, breathing rate is measured when the person is at rest. Any difficulty in breathing or any illness causes the respiratory rate to fluctuate. Ideally, breathing rate should be 12 breaths per minute. However, with physical activity makes it differ from 12-20, 10-14 and 16-18 breaths per minute.

Why Control Breathing Rate?
Having a high rate of respiration or breathing is inadvisable. A controlled way of breathing ensures healthy benefits. Cardiac patients are especially prescribed a systematic way of breathing. A slow and rhythmic breathing, lets in copious amounts of oxygen in the blood, which in turn improves the health. Innumerable studies have shown that, panic attacks, anxiety, tingling in hands and feet, high blood pressure were all extensions of shallow breathing. Not much work there to conclude, that the remedy to avert all these lies in controlled breathing.

How to Control Breathing Rate?
Breathing can be controlled consciously and sub-consciously. Conscious, as the word means, is with full awareness of the act. The methods of bringing about conscious effort in your breathing activity is through some yoga exercises listed below.

Pranayam, means ‘restraint of breath’. The word is a combination of Prana, or the soul in Sanskrit and ayama, meaning restrain.

Kapalbhati Pranayam
To perform this exercise, sit erect. Take a deep breath and exhale through both your nostrils forcefully. Do this again. Set a rhythm for yourself and make quick repetitions of inhalation and exhalation for a count of 100.

Bhramari Pranayam
Again sit erect, take a deep breath. Close your eyes and your ears. Release the breath, slowly, humming ‘Om’. Feel the vibrations of ‘Omkar’, and surely you will get ‘addicted’ (pun intended) to this exercise.

Anolum Vilom Pranayam
This is the most commonly practiced form of breathing exercise. Sit with your back straight. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your left nostril. Feel the breath touching the upper lip and visualize it going inside. Now, close your left nostril and exhale through the right one. Continue doing this for about 15 minutes a day and see refreshing changes within your body in just 15 days.

Breathing is the reason why we live. Newborn babies have the perfect rate and style of breathing. As we grow older our breathing becomes shallower and thus, reduces our rate of metabolism. Breathing reflects the state of our mind. Every emotion takes its toll on breathing. To have a healthy lifestyle, practice the basic breathing techniques, because it’s every breath that makes your life so special!


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