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.