New York Mayor Eric Leroy Adams has announced that all public schools in the Big Apple will soon be required to provide their students with 2 to 5 minutes of “mindful breathing” exercises each day. A ‘lesson’ that many of us need.
Every day, without even realizing it, we take more than 20,000 breaths, about fifteen times a minute, inhaling and exhaling seven liters of air. But most of us do it poorly, with short, labored breathing that sometimes sends us into apnea making us more vulnerable to inflammation and cardiovascular and psycho-emotional disorders.
Also, lack of oxygen weakens the immune system. Summer can be a good time to take ‘lessons’ and learn to breathe properly. It is also being talked about these days in the context of the Dolomiti Wellness Festival which takes place until 9 July in Pinzolo, in the tourist area of Madonna di Campiglio where some sessions of conscious energetic breathing are scheduled.
Breathe well: advice from the respiratory therapist and pulmonologist by Cinzia Lucchelli March 31, 2023
Out of breath
We’re all a little short of breath. 70% of breathing should be guided by the diaphragm, but usually less than 40% of its potential is used by letting less air into the lungs. “Through the psychosomatic analysis of the respiratory system of the people I observe – he explains Christian Verducci, international expert in the Science of Conscious Energy Breathing and Italian ambassador of the Global Wellness Institute – have a known characteristic in common which is that of being excessively ‘withheld’. It would seem shyness, but it’s actually more fear of expressing yourself completely and letting yourself go totally. They are all very focused on work and neglect the primary and preventive aspect of their health, without recognizing that it is also the basis of good productivity and a better quality of well-being in the workplace”.
At the Dolomiti Wellness Festival, where Verducci leads energetic breathing sessions, there is also talk of under-breathing. What is it about? “Under-breathing precisely means having restricted and limited breathing which leads to survival in vacuum, under-pressure and under-stress, also creating a ‘character armor’ which consumes a lot of energy even at rest with the consequence of always feeling tired and frustrated. Furthermore, it creates a bad posture with all the associated symptoms such as back pain, neck pain and sleep disturbances”, replies the expert.
Because breathing badly is bad for your health
Announcing his initiative at a Brooklyn institution, Mayor Adams said, “Breathing calms the nervous system, helps us center ourselves and regain our sense of balance and concentration. It is an invaluable, low-cost tool that has been shown to improve mental health and well-being”. If these are the benefits, for those who breathe badly the damage is evident: “Inadequate breathing – explains Verducci – can cause headaches and colds due to a lowering of the defenses of the immune system and the consequent malfunctioning of the lymphatic system as well, which is the best and most effective internal cleansing system of the organism, free and always at our disposal”. On the other hand, correct breathing improves general well-being, calms us down and helps us manage our personal energy in all our daily activities.
Meditation against anxiety, a weapon (almost) as effective as drugs by Matteo Grittani 09 January 2023
The steps of correct breathing
Breathing seems like an involuntary action that we do almost without realizing it, but in reality if we want to do it right we need to follow some rules. Where to start? “The most important thing – replies Verducci who developed the method BreathEducation – is to pay all attention to the ‘sound’ intentionally produced by one’s breath, by the air that enters and leaves the nostrils of the nose. It is essential to do it without effort, therefore with the utmost intention but without tension, also relaxing the muscles of the face, the jaw, without clenching the teeth”. The inhalation phase must be light: “As if you were smelling the air and without hold and then immediately release it as if it were an arrow that comes out or a ball that rolls down to the ground, without control or forcing”.
A ‘pocket’ exercise
This is a simple ‘portable’ exercise of listening to one’s breathing to be done at any time of the day: from when you open your eyes in the morning on the bed, to pauses or waiting during the day and travel-journeys, with your eyes open or closed. “The important thing – underlines the expert – is to do it as if it were a game that will be more and more pleasant and therefore will create a positive reinforcement for an increasingly regular and constant practice of one’s breathing until it becomes a healthy life habit that will make breathing more and more fluid without long pauses and apneas”.
Remember the simple and never predictable rule of ‘filling and emptying’ starting from exhalation. “Let’s imagine a simple internal balloon which, once emptied, fills naturally with inhalation. For example, many people have uncoordinated breathing and when they inhale they pull their stomach in and chest out and on the exhale they inflate their belly. This is why it is it helps to place your hands to also feel the movement of your breath”, continues Verducci who, as part of the Dolomiti Wellness Festival, will also present RivoluzionARIA©, a social awareness campaign on the importance of breathing.
From physical activity to digital detox: the handbook for truly disconnecting on vacation by Valentina Guglielmo 27 June 2022