Did you know that about 70% of our metabolic waste is released through our breath, through our exhale? I’m asked frequently, isn’t going ‘number 1 and number 2’ where we release most of our metabolic waste? Surprisingly, no! It is through our breath.
I’ve asked clients if they have ever sat at the office all day, just sitting behind a computer, at a desk doing paper work, and at the end of the day are completely exhausted? Have you ever experienced this? The reason is because we are not breathing properly and are building up metabolic waste in the blood stream which can cause fatigue. So if you can, every hour take some nice deep breaths. Simple enough, right? Most of us, however, will focus on the inhale. Instead, try focusing more on the exhale. Exhale MORE than you think you can. This will allow the body to release and let go of a lot of the metabolic waste that gets built up in the blood stream. The only way to release this waste is through the exhale.
We can physically go maybe a month or so without food. We can go maybe a week, if that, without water. But we can’t go more than 5 minutes without oxygen. So really, oxygen is our most vital nutrient. Most of us do not breathe properly. We are not getting adequate amounts of oxygen in our bodies to feed our cells and to feed our brain.
Just take a nice deep breath. This can be done anywhere and it is one of the simplest and most powerful stress relieving techniques. Notice where in your body you are breathing from. Most of us will breathe from the upper part of the chest area. Our bodies are designed to breath from the diaphragm area. To see where in the body you are breathing from, put one hand on the upper chest area and the other hand on the belly just above the belly button. Now take a nice deep breath. Now notice, where in your body is most of the movement?
Is most of the movement with the hand on your upper part of the chest, or is it the hand on the belly? If you are breathing and your belly is moving more than your chest, good for you! You’re doing what I like to call Buddha breathing. That is where the belly is allowed to expand like a balloon with each inhale. Most of us will wear clothes that are too restrictive to allow this freedom of movement. Sitting for long periods of time will also cause this restriction with freedom of movement to allow full deep breaths. We must allow the diaphragm to physically move and take full deep breaths to allow the full capacity of the lungs. This movement also allows for peristalsis in the digestive track.
Most of us will breathe from the upper chest area especially when sitting for long periods of time. This movement triggers a response in the brain. The area of the brain that is triggered is called our Reptilian Brain. This area of the brain is most concerned with our survival and will trigger the fight or flight response. This biological response can cause our thoughts to race and will also cause us to release adrenaline throughout the body.
Think about this for a moment. If we are constantly breathing from the upper chest area, we are sending drips of adrenaline throughout the body all day long. It’s little wonder many of us don’t have any energy to do anything because our body is in such heightened stressful states all day long. When we finally get home, we don’t have any energy to do anything else because we’ve been in adrenaline mode, fight or flight, through most of our day. This heightened stressful state can cause all kinds of health issues in the body.
If you can, every hour on the hour, feel free to set up a little timer for it, and take ten slow deep diaphragmatic breaths, focusing on the exhale. Exhaling more than you think you can. Our lungs are like sponges. We want to clear out as much of that metabolic waste that we can release through our exhale with each breath.
So here’s to you! Take as many breath breaks as you can throughout your day and notice how much more energy you have! Oxygen – our most vital nutrient.
Rev. Denise VanVliet DD
Author of The Way of the Modern Mystic