The Chinese sages considered the nutrition provided by air through breathing even more vital to health and longevity than that provided by food and water through digestion. We can (although I don’t recommend it), survive for weeks without food, but only minutes without air. Want to try breathing correctly? Let’s do this fun exercise.
- Go ahead and find a cozy place to lay down.
- Place your hands on your lower abdomen.
- Now, take a deep breath and let your abdomen expand. Your chest and shoulders may rise and your ribs may expand, but this is fine as long as your abdomen moves first.
- Next, slowly exhale while tightening your core and contracting your abs.
- Inhale for three seconds, exhale for six seconds.
We get added benefits from proper breathing – like a reduction in hypertension and increased relaxation. We’re not getting “more” or “extra” oxygen; we’re just getting the amount of oxygen that our body needs.
Furthermore, in Chinese philosophy, we only have a certain amount of breaths in a lifetime. Imagine the sea turtle. We know that the turtle has a long life span. Why, you may ask? Well, as compared to a dog, the turtle takes the longest, deepest breaths. Visualize the turtle as your power-animal when you do this exercise and you will feel it’s relaxing benefits.