Breathing, Oxygen and Yoga



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There are a growing number of people drawn to the health benefits of yoga. For good reasons. The deep breathing exercises taught in some schools of yoga cater to the healthy living of every cell in our bodies.

Many people don’t realize that every cell in our bodies requires oxygen on a continual basis in order to have active metabolism. The cells of all glands and organs require active metabolism in order for those glands and organs to be functional and productive, and we cannot maintain a state of good health for long without their function.

Once we understand this basic principle we can look at our modern sedentary lifestyle and see that it is not the most conducive to health. Coming from nature where all the creatures are moving the majority of the time – we also were designed with motion in mind.

When we do move two things spontaneously occur: first, the activity engages muscles which produce carbon dioxide through their metabolism; this triggers deeper breathing in order to eliminate the carbon dioxide and to acquire more oxygen for continued muscular activity.

Second: the activity stimulates better circulation in both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems, so that both oxygen and other nutrients can be distributed throughout the body.

The lack of activity that usually comes with a desk job, or sitting at a computer all day, is really not to our benefit. Not only does our circulation become more sluggish and our breathing very shallow but all the brain activity also requires fair amounts of oxygen, and this type of activity does not stimulate sufficient deeper breathing nor better circulation. Consequently we fall into oxygen depletion.

The result is known as the oxidative stress, produced at a cellular level by cells in a panic because they are suffocating, and communicated up to the brain as stressful anxiety. Both this stress level and the oxygen deficit are damaging to the entire body.

When these conditions remain for long periods of time they lead to a degeneration of our internal organs and subsequent malfunctions.

How many people accept that they have stressful jobs? Yet this situation could easily be alleviated by breathing breaks and exercise breaks instead of coffee breaks, or even as well as coffee breaks. Looking into the health statistics of our modern society we can see rising numbers of a variety of immune deficient and degenerative diseases. Should we continue to go this route or would it be better to start applying some simple solutions now?

The science of yoga has many practical methods of reversing the trend. It does not require amazing flexibility nor acrobatic feats to promote a better state of health. Simple movement and deeper breathing would suffice and these can be done right in the office.

Breathing can be practiced sitting in an office chair for example, so why not change the direction of our health trends. Deep breathing does not require a huge amount of effort, and oxygen is still free, not even taxable.

About the Author

David Goulet has been a certified international yoga teacher since 1972. David and his wife Marina offer Yoga Teacher Training in Victoria British Columbia and beautiful beach island of Koh Phangan in South Thailand. Visit his website here.

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Originally posted 2005-12-18 15:37:43.


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