Squeeze in some time for Oxygen
Every yoga class is punctuated with frequent reminders to breathe, not just the shortened breaths that often becomes a normal part of our day but deep, oxygenating breaths. Prana, breath, in Sanskrit, literally means life.
But why is deep breathing so critical? Yoga teachers typically instruct their students to focus on both slow inhalation and slow exhalation, gradually building the seconds between the inhales and exhales. Put simply, the deeper we breathe the more oxygen we have flowing through our blood stream and the more carbon dioxide (toxic air) is released from our bodies.
Here are just some of the wonders that oxygen does for our body:
- Increases overall energy, alleviates fatigue.
- Activates parasympathetic system, which helps to alleviate nerves, decreases stress and even helps with digestion.
- Increases focus
- Boosts our immune system
- Works to heal our body
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to increase the overall oxygen in both the body (blood) and brain. However, there are lots of other small adjustments that we can make in our lives that can also help to increase overall oxygen level. Keeping our blood cells oxygenated can both build your immune system and prevent disease. Here are some simple ways to ramp up the oxygen in your life:
- Think Green. According to Tishin Donkersley, Editor in Chief, Green Living, a diet high in naturally chlorophyll-enriched foods helps to increase overall oxygen levels. Dark leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and kale, blue/green algae and the power house spirulina should become a regular part of an oxygen-enriched diet.
- Eat More Complex Carbohydrates: Fruits, Whole Grains and Legumes helps bloods ability to transport oxygen to the cells
- Squeeze some Fresh Lemons: Drinking freshly squeezed lemon (mixed in water) can help to regulate carbohydrate levels and adjust both calcium and oxygen levels.
- Listen to your grandmother and Sit up Straight. A wonderful posture allows both your lungs and diaphragm to function at their best.
- Fill your home with air cleansing plants. Spider plants, Snake plant, Golden Pathos and English Ivy are just some of the plants that will work hard to clean your air. NASA recommends having one 6 to 8 inch diameter plant to every 100 feet.
- Increase your overall activity level. Whether it’s through yoga, a walk in the woods or a cardio class, simply getting that blood flowing will bring oxygen into your cells. Just remember to breathe.