Energy and Breath

We had an email this week asking about how can we keep our energy up and keep going even in the face of difficult situations such as Brexit? For some this would be seen as inspiration, motivation and will power. The way that I see it is that most people are quite capable of achieving what they desire in every situation. It is often that they never have the self belief to get on with their life and simply just do it. As I said on the podcast most people do not need to find their accelerator what they need to do is take their foot off the brake.

There are two words in the English language that make me smile.  The first is ‘Inspiration’ when we get that flash of genius that solves a problem or creates a wonderful work of art or a scientific breakthrough and so on. The second is ‘Respiration” that we use to describe both the process and product of breathing. I smile because when any of us use these words, even the most committed atheist among us, we are really talking about spirit.

To be inspired means to be filled with spirit. This would seem to be an acknowledgment of the connection between all creative processes and the universal energy that some call ‘source energy’ and others refer to as ‘God’ or Yahweh, or Brahman and so on. Whatever we call ‘that’ thing we can all acknowledge that there are some of us that are, at some point, inspired and inspirational, or else we would not have any invention or charismatic leaders.

Respiration or to respire is to breathe and exchange gases through inhalation and exhalation. The word respire really means to ‘re-spirit’ or to refill with spirit. So that again we make the connection with spirit or ‘that’ thing and our self, our experience and our life.

It is said the the first thing that we do in life is to breathe in and, the last thing that we do in life is to breathe out. It is the breaths in between these two that are what we call our life, when we stop breathing this life comes to a close.

We do not realise the importance of breath. I know that if we do not breath we die, that is not what I mean, it is more to do with the quality of our breath, it’s depth, it’s speed and repetition, because there is something that you should understand about breath. It is this, we all get the same amount or breaths. A life ‘time’ is not counted in years it is counted in breaths and heart beats. There is a direct correlation between breaths and heart rate. The faster the heart the quicker the breath, the faster the breath the quicker the heart.

Across the world human life expectancy is an average 72 years, while a hamster has an average life expectancy of three 3 years and, amazingly a whale is around 150 years, but the number of breaths and heartbeats for each species will stay the same, in fact all amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles live life spans of the same average heart beats and breaths. The heart rate of a whale is around 10 heartbeats a minute and hamsters is 450 per minute.  Yet for both, during their life they will both have the same number of beats averaging about 1 billion.

On average, humans breathe about 960 breaths per hour that equates to 23040 breaths in a day and 8409600 in a year. If you were to live to 80 you will take around 672,768,000 breaths, based on your average respiration rate at rest. If you exercise your heart rate and respiration will increase while under exercise, but will drop back to a slower rate after the exercise so that over all the rates decrease. The other things that will increase respiration and heart rate in a negative sense is stress and anxiety

Considering all this the process of breathing is the focus of meditation and mediation techniques. Almost all mindful meditation techniques begin with breath focus, and in meditation and relaxation heart and respiration rates drop significantly. 

The punch line is that those people who breathe slower live longer. People who remain physically fit will breathe slower when at rest, and the most efficient breathing comes from the meditators who are taking control of their system and are leading calm and relaxed lives. It is always true that in life we do not need to slow down, we need to calm down.

In the Podcast I made a suggestion for an App as my resource of the week. There are several to choose from. Simply type Pranayama in your App Store and take your pick. If you calm your breath you will calm your mind. If you calm your mind you can be more focussed and get more done. If you create calmness, relaxation and meditation you will live longer and happier and if you take your foot of your brake you might also achieve what you desire.

Relax and be happy

Sean x