Blow It Off

Don't Blow Off this powerful step! It can help you get in excellent mental and physical condition in as little as 5 minutes daily. It seems unbelievable, but 70% of your body's waste is eliminated through breathing. Each and every day you breathe in and out an average of 27,000 times.

That’s amazing! Imagine all of the toxins you are expelling through your breath over and over throughout the course of a day. Those chemicals are microscopic, but 27,000 breaths worth add up. Don’t hyperventilate! I don't want you to breathe faster; I want you to breathe better. Better breathing will provide innumerable improvements to your health.

Practicing proper breathing techniques can actually cause you to burn calories more efficiently, eliminate toxic chemicals more effectively, tighten and tone your core abdominal muscles, broaden your chest and assist you in losing weight. That is truly amazing! And if that were not enough, practicing proper breathing techniques have also been associated with achieving a greater serenity, obtaining new spiritual insight and lowering stress and anxiety levels. That is some powerful stuff!

Stress-reducing techniques like mindful breathing stabilizes cortisol levels (a hormone responsible for innumerable metabolic functions) and can reduce inflammation significantly throughout the body. Cortisol levels that are too high or too low can cause many unwanted effects such as muscle wasting, fat accumulation, stress intolerance and a variety of inflammatory reactions responsible for myriad health concerns including obesity.

I know, you’ve been breathing since you were a newborn and maybe you’ve never had a problem with it thus far. Does breathing better really make that big of a difference? Is it that important? Can it help you lose weight and get in excellent shape? The answer to all these questions is a resounding “YES!!!”

Breathing properly is extremely important to your health and can have an enormous impact on getting you in excellent shape. This automatic (autonomic) function occurs spontaneously, just like your beating heart and your constricting gut. Fortunately, it is much easier to control your lungs then your heart and gut. Lungs can be controlled through the action of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle separating your chest and abdomen. Contraction of the diaphragm causes flattening of the dome, inflation of the lungs and expansion of your chest. This phenomenon normally occurs automatically, that means you don’t have to think about it, but here is why sometimes you should.

What if I told you breathing better could actually alter your health and influence your metabolism? In fact, breathing is the counterbalance to your metabolism. You should not attempt to alter one without expecting changes to the other. The way you breathe strongly alters the pH balance of your blood. Alternatively, even subtle changes to your metabolism will automatically cause your breathing to change. In this way respiration and metabolism are intimately associated; they fit like Yin and Yang, (opposing and yet complementary forces) keeping you balanced, healthy and complete through homeostasis. Increasing your respiration will also increase your metabolism.

Expanding your lungs and slowing down your breathing briefly once a day can reduce the dead space within your lungs and keep them functioning well, healthy and clean. Reducing the dead space within your lungs means more of your lung tissue is working. The more lung tissue you have working, the more efficiently you can exchange various gasses with the outside world while you are breathing. Keeping clean and healthy lungs means a better acquisition of oxygen and an increased elimination of waste gasses from your bloodstream. Eliminating waste is what losing weight is all about.

Proper breathing techniques have been taught and practiced for thousands of years by alternative healthcare specialists, Yogis and Zen Buddhist monks. The monks call it “mindful breathing,” which means being thoughtful about your breath and conscious about your breathing. Mindful breathing should become an important part of your weight loss and anti-aging lifestyle. Try it each day for 10 to 15 minutes. Almost immediately, you should notice an improvement in posture and core muscle tone, as well as an increase in energy, stamina, power and endurance. You should also find with it a greater sense of inner tranquility, sustained serenity and an enveloping confidence. Believe me, it’s worth more than the effort.

With a little practice, you can develop the very beneficial breathing technique discussed below. Eventually, even your automatic breathing will be much improved as your chest begins to expand and your abdomen tightens. Training starts with learning how to breathe better and then practicing often. Do this for a minimum of 10 minutes a day to count this important finger on your 5 Finger Diet.

The 5 Finger Diet Breathing Technique

  1. Sit up straight in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed and relax.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it in briefly.
  3. Clear your mind and exhale slowly through tightly pursed lips.
  4. Forget about everything else except breathing.
  5. Feel the air going in and going out with each breath.
  6. Close your eyes and relax.
  7. Keep a tall straight spine and your ribcage expanded throughout the entire exercise.
  8. Fill up your lungs through your nose, hold it in briefly and then exhale slowly through tightly pursed lips.
  9. Keep a slack jaw and provide moderate resistance to your breath with your lips.
  10. Wait a few seconds between each inhale and each exhale.
  11. Don’t forget to keep your ribcage expanded and spine tall and straight at all times.
  12. Exhale by tightening your abdominal muscles and pulling your bellybutton in tightly towards your spine.
  13. Feel your gut roll in under your ribcage then tighten your lower belly and buttocks.
  14. Inhale by letting your belly relax as you slowly push your belly and chest out completely.
  15. Continue this as you relax and think of nothing but breathing.

It is said that in as little as five minutes a day, breathing exercises such as this one can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. Once you realize these benefits you may want to breathe like this for up to an hour each day. This breathing technique may be performed anywhere, anytime you are awake. Try it at home or at work or on the way in between. Whenever you think of it, you can practice this mindful breathing technique. For example, I practice mindful breathing whenever I am driving alone in my car. After the first few weeks, I did not even have to think about it; it just came naturally. Now I step into my car and automatically begin mindful breathing. Obviously, while driving you will need to keep your eyes open and concentrate on the road, but this is also a great way to reduce the stress associated with traffic. You can practice better breathing anywhere and at any time.

By permanently incorporating mindful breathing into your everyday life, you can reprogram yourself to breathe better all day long without having to think about it more than once a day. The technique I’ve described above can be greatly enhanced by learning to stretch while you breathe as in yoga. For this finger, a yoga session, tai-chi, exercise, meditation or prayer is encouraged while breathing.

TIP: Whenever possible avoid shallow chest slumping. This poor breathing technique keeps you in a lazy, reactive mode with a retracted chest and a protruding abdomen. As we learn to break free of this habit, we will change not only the contour of our bodies but also the contents of our minds.

Blow It Off

The 5 Finger Diet By Dr. Allan