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Breathe For Your Own Good
by: Nymph Kellerman
During the last few decades, Western Universities have become interested in the
various techniques of deep relaxation and the effects it has on the body. During
a deeply relaxed state, the heart rate slows down, there is a lowering in blood
pressure, a decrease in oxygen consumption, a reduction in the blood lactate
(high levels are associated with anxiety), and last but not least, the
electrical activity of the brain changes. In recent years it was discovered that
the brain has the ability to change its vibrations and in doing so, changes
behaviour as well as involuntary functions of internal organs.
The largest part of the brain is called the cerebral cortex and it comprises
about 80% of the brain. It is concerned with our conceptual thinking and motor
functions. It houses a number of lobes with overlapping thinking, sensory and
memory tasks. For our purpose we need to be aware of the two cerebral
hemispheres (almost like two separate brains), connected to each other by the
corpus callosum (an intricate web of fibres). These hemispheres are largely
responsible for different intellectual functions.
The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and specializes in
processing logical, mathematical and analytical information.
The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and specializes in
processing visual, sensory and emotional information.
It is important to realize that the two hemispheres interact, with the result
that not all logical functions are processed by the left-hemisphere and not all
creative functions are processed by the right-hemisphere.
Electrical activity of the brain can be measured and seen on an
electroencephalogram (EEG). Electrodes, attached to a recording device, are
placed on a person's scalp to record the brain's electrical activity. These
electrodes are not sensitive enough to detect individual action potentials, but
can detect the simultaneous action potentials in large numbers of neurons. As a
result, the EEG displays wavelike patterns known as brain waves.
CLASSIFICATION OF BRAIN WAVES:
K COMPLEX – measures at 33 and above cycles per second, a state of very high
HIGH BETA – 23 – 33 cycles per second, a very tense state in which it is
difficult to e rational.
BETA – 14 – 22 cycles per second. It is the awake-state of physical alertness
when the mind and emotions respond to the senses. It is associated with tension
ALPHA – 7 – 14 cycles per second. In the alpha state a person is deeply relaxed
with the mind completely awake. (I call this state the “golden state” - this is
as good as it gets. In this state you change your world, you make your dreams
come true and you change yourself).
THETA – 3.5 – 7 cycles per second. The state for night-time sleep. Everybody
experiences theta twice every normal day – when falling asleep and when waking
up in the morning.
DELTA – measures at 0.5 – 3.5 cycles per second. Delta is profound sleep. Dreams
take place in delta, as well as regeneration and cell renewal.
Deep breathing slows down the electrical activity of the brain and in doing so,
it becomes a powerful relaxation technique that promotes healing on a physical,
emotional and spiritual level.
But-how-does-one-breath-correctly………….? The diaphragm is a large dome of muscles
that separates the thoracic (chest) cavity from the abdominal cavity. When the
muscles of the diaphragm contract, the dome is flattened, increasing the volume
of the thorax (chest). During conscious deep breathing, the respiratory muscles
contract more forcefully, causing a greater increase in thoracic volume.
Test yourself with this little exercise:
Place one hand on the chest and one just above the middle. Inhale and notice
which hand moves the most. If the hand on your chest moves, you do upper-lung
breathing, in other words, shallow breathing.
Teach and train yourself to breathe correctly by doing the following exercise:
Sit in an upright chair with the spine straight and the eyes closed, feet flat
on the floor a few inches apart. Hands relaxed and in a comfortable position in
the lap. Take a long, slow, deep breath and hold for a count of 3. Exhale and
feel how the body relaxes. Repeat three times. Become aware of your breathing
consciously slowing it down. Concentrate only on your breath, breathing deeply
until you feel still and at peace. Breathe deeply for approximately 20 minutes.
Relaxation And Meditation
science of breathing
Improve Your Breathing
to Reduce Stress and Increase Your Performance
By Ingrid Bacci, Ph.D.
I learned to improve both my health and my professional performance by making it a priority to breathe in a deep, relaxed manner in all my activities. In this article, we will explore how other people have used breath awareness to transform their lives in positive directions.
Nymph Kellerman was born in Cape Town. She
obtained a B.A. Psychology and Philosophy at the University of South
Africa. After a car accident that lead to a few neuro surgeries and
predictions of severe and aggressive chronic pain of the cervical spine,
she commenced in an investigation of the benefits of deep relaxation.
She turned to writing on the subjects of deep breathing, relaxation, and
meditation, and is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Breath
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