The Lost Art of Breathing!

This quote is from an article in the Guardian.

Few of these scientists set out to study breathing. But, somehow, in some way, breathing kept finding them. They discovered that our capacity to breathe has changed through the long processes of human evolution and that the way we breathe has become markedly worse since the dawn of the industrial age. They’d also discovered that with some concerted practice we could restore our breathing and when we did we could take control of certain functions of our nervous and immune systems. The ways in which we took those 25,000 breaths we take each day – some 30lb of air that enters and exits our lungs – was in many ways as important as what we ate, how much we exercised, or whatever genes we’d inherited.

One of the findings listed in this article is that we ‘over breathe’, that is we take too many breaths. Hard to take in I know however when I sit in formal meditation my breathing quite naturally slows right down. Sometimes I wonder if another breath is going to come. It does without my assistance. Here is the paragraph talking about over-breathing.

One thing that every pulmonary researcher I’ve talked to over the past few years has agreed on is that we tend to over breathe. What’s considered normal today is anywhere between a dozen and 20 breaths a minute, with an average intake of about 0.5 litres or more of air per breath. For those on the high end of respiratory rates, that’s about twice at much as it used to be. Breathing too much can raise blood pressure, overwork the heart and lull our nervous systems into a state of stress. For the body to function as peak efficiency we need to breathe as closely in-line with our metabolic needs as possible. For the majority of us that means breathing less. But that’s harder than it sounds. We’ve become conditioned to breathe too much, just as we’ve been conditioned to eat too much. With some effort and training, however, breathing less can become an unconscious habit.

Many thanks to Susan who sent me the link to this article today.

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The Benefits of Breathing – Re post

Have you ever paused to notice?
if your mouth is closed
when you breathe in
and when you breathe out?

Have you ever considered?
if your mouth is OPEN
while you walk in silence
and have you wondered why?

Have you ever paid attention?
to the soft touch of top on bottom lip
and noticed the wonder of it
in your toes?

Have you ever paused to ponder?
if mouth open or closed
while breathing through your day
matters?

A friend pointed out the merits of nose breathing, whenever possible, as against mouth breathing.

Why wander the world panting? Surely life is not one long emergency.
Is it?

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A Time to Be Still

20200802_152954
Everything in the garden is lovely.

And if what is of earth forgets you,
Say to that earth of silence: I flow.
Say to the rushing waters: I am.

This comes at the very end of book two of Rilke’s Sonnet to Orpheus

20200802_164231
Everything in the garden is STILL lovely.

This post is for all those who have died, known to you personally.

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On a Windy Day With Trees

On a windy day
align your spine
with the trunk of
a tree.

Stay awhile.
Know the
strength
you share.

On a ‘windy’ day
Do remember the
the tree.
She is strong.

And flexible.

With a hat tip to the Alexander Technique.


Natascha McElhone at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew recites A love letter to trees by Hermann Hesse

Trees? They give us our feet so we can know ourselves whatever the weather. Come clouds, rain, sun, or wind.

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Left and Right Arm Tattoo Quotes

These images are a follow on from this post where there are a few comments on the left arm image.
On the left arm…
human-fredoms-arm

The last of human freedoms;
The ability to choose one’s attitude
in a given set of circumstances.

On the right arm…
on-the-right-arm

Fortunate are those who are curious,
For they shall have adventures!

The chap sporting this tatoo loved to read as a young child and never stopped. It is him walking into the house built of books.

These tattoos are on the arms of the chief cook in the care centre where I was visiting Rev. Master Meiten in Victoria, Canada July 2017. Many memories flood in as I think about that time. With bows to the congregation who supported me while I stayed on the island. The cook was special, we would pass the time of day quite frequently as I waited to meet somebody in the lobby of the care home.

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Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives