Below is a list of interesting books which can help you further develop your knowledge of Breathing and inspire you to reach optimum health. There are some extracts from the much loved book, 'Breathe Deeply, Laugh Loudly' written by Judith Kravitz, the founder of Transformational Breath.
Books of inspiration
Breathe Deeply, Laugh Loudly - Judith Kravitz, Founder of Transformational Breathing
The Breathing Book - Donna Fahri
Core Awareness - Liz Koch
Perfect Breathing - Al Lee & Don Campbell
Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
The Mindful Way through Depression - Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness, by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat -Zinn
A Calm Brain: How to Relax into a Stress-Free, High-Powered Life, by Gayatri Devi
The Mindful Way Through Stress: The Proven 8-week Path to Health, Happinees and Well-Being, by Shamash Alidina
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping, by Robert M. Sapolsky
Group activity heightens Oxytocin and feel good feelings.
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love” hormone as it plays a crucial part in human bonding. Oxytocin is a hormone that also helps relax and reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, has anti-anxiety effects and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. In addition it promotes growth and healing. It is the chemical foundation for trusting others and is activated by positive social interactions. It makes us care about others in tangible ways and motivates us to work together for a common purpose. Oxytocin also increases trust and reduces fear in positive social situations.
It has been found that even small expressions of support between family members and friends will stimulate the release of oxytocin. What this means is that love, trust, sincerity, and heartfelt touch can actually prompt the body to heal itself on a physical level. Oxytocin can act like a psychological buffer. Nature wired both men and women to experience an oxytocin surge (or several) during moments of bonding with each other or their children.
Researchers at The Stanford University School of medicine in a report in “Nature” (September 2012) pinpointed a “unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in the part of the brain that is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call “reward”. The reward system is a network of interconnected brain regions responsible for our sensation of pleasure in response to a variety of activities such as finding or eating food when we’re hungry, sleeping when we’re tired, having sex or acquiring a mate. The reward system has evolved to reinforce behaviours that promote our survival. Physical and emotional interactions between individuals, and within a group, can induce positive emotional states, and lead to physiological adaptations and behavioural changes necessary for relaxation, resilience, attachment, growth, achievements, and healing. In humans social support and positive social experiences have well documented health benefits, such as the reduction of the risk for a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular dysfunction, high blood pressure, anxiety and mood disorders. Oxytocin naturally enhances a sense of optimism, trust, mastery and self-esteem.
Another important fact about the release of oxytocin into our system is that it stimulates serotonin production. Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for feeling of happiness and well being. Serotonin is widely believed to play a key part in the central nervous system, as well as in the general functioning of the body and in particular the GI tract. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin influences both directly and indirectly the majority of brain cells. This affects mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function. A lack of serotonin levels can lead to depression. Exercise is thought to increase serotonin levels, so group activity that involves exercise can be particularly beneficial.
“Breathing is energy in motion. Deep breathing allows us to heal unresolved, repressed and suppressed emotions".
Deep belly breathing (or strong diaphragmatic breathing) opens up the lower abdomen, an area where we can store tension from unacknowledged feelings in various parts of our body. In fact, seventy-five percent or our blood circulates in the mid- and lower torso, so full, deep breaths are crucial to good health. Restricted or shallow breathing that is tense shows a fear response, while deep belly breathing is relaxing and releases endorphins which make you feel good.
Energetically the abdomen is the seat of the subconscious which is why strong belly breathing allows access to and a clearing and healing of the subconscious mind. The personal will also resides in the belly and as this area opens up, new feelings of safety and self-acceptance start replacing shame and self-judgement in the subconscious mind. This allows pure Life Force to flow freely into previously restricted areas. Creativity that may once have been blocked can then be set free resulting in more energy, a more grounded presence and a strong sense of will.
In the middle of the respiratory system is the solar plexus and lack of breath in this area represents a separation between heart and will. This can make you feel like you are constantly being pulled in different directions and you may have irrational fears or panic attacks. Blocked breathing can therefore result in us being unable to do the things that we want to do. Once this area is opened up with deep, free breathing it results in the integration of heart and will allowing you to move forward in the direction you want.
The upper chest, if rigid and puffed out represents a closed heart centre and repression of love, often a result from childhood where a child may feel the need to shut down in order to protect themselves from strong-willed parents. Breathing fully and freely into the chest while affirming “love and safety” facilitates the unblocking and transforming of repressed, painful feelings. This then allows the flow of love to expand in and out, to and from us.
The upper chest area above the heart and throat is where the expression or repression of Higher Will occurs. This will to express our true purpose in life can often be ignored especially amongst people who grew up in an environment where expressing personal will was not permitted. The personal will seated in the lower abdomen gives us the drive to seek out basic human needs such as comfort, food and shelter. Higher will goes above and beyond the personal will. It is the will of the Spirit and refers to our higher purpose in life. Restrictions in this area may make you feel confused as to the meaning of life and your purpose in it. By filling up this area when we breathe repressed emotions can be transformed by allowing ourselves to experience them. Expressions of Higher Will start to surface and a passion for life can be reawakened and we become more open to love.
When breathing fully in all of these areas of the respiratory system we become more open, trusting and comfortable with the flow of life. We develop an accepting, easygoing relationship with life and truly feel like we are “in the flow” energetically.
“Our breath is the key to deep healing" Breath is life and every breath we take affects every single cell in our body. Learning to breathe well is paramount to a healthy body, managed emotions and a free mind".
Every physical and chemical process of the body requires oxygen; every cell in the body needs a continuous supply to function with maximum benefit. Using the full respiratory system allows us to give our bodies the oxygen they need to stay healthy and strong. Many major diseases are caused as a result of insufficient oxygen supplied to the body. With every organ and cell dependent upon oxygen-rich blood for nourishment, the blood’s quality depends largely upon proper oxygenation of the lungs. If under-oxygenated, the blood becomes laden with impurities, including carbon monoxide, which poisons cells and weakens the immune system. When it remains as a waste product in the blood, disease develops.
Once a habit of full open breathing is established there are a wide range of benefits. As well as the benefit of increased oxygen levels in the blood, more endorphins, adrenaline, insulin and other beneficial chemicals are released into the body resulting in elevated emotional states and mental clarity. When we breathe consciously, we enlarge our perspective and can better understand and resolve the conditions of discomfort and disease. Meanwhile, the increased oxygen supply is doing its part to rebalance our physical biochemistry.
Detoxification is another important benefit of proper breathing. Therapeutic breath sessions will detoxify your system and motivate you towards more nontoxic and detoxifying habits. Many conscious breathers find it easy to quit smoking, drinking and taking drugs, and tend to become attracted to healthier foods as well. Natural healing often occurs during the breath session as tensions from the mind/ body are resolved and released. In addition to being a powerful healing tool, Transformational Breathing complements and strengthens all other forms of healing and therapy.
Transformational Breathing is a healing method that uses a high-vibrational energy, created by the breath, to clear the low-vibrational charge of disease and restricted cellular memory. Primarily created by a specific circular breathing pattern, this high vibrational state allow for deep resolution of toxic errors in our thinking. The breath causes full integration of body, feelings, mind, and spirit. This highly developed form of breath therapy allows us to tap into unlimited energy and discover who we are at the deepest levels. Eventually, the same full, open, and connected breathing pattern practiced in the breath sessions starts to carry over into everyday living After just a few sessions with a breath coach/ facilitator we begin maximising oxygen intake and increasing our energy and vitality. Soon we sense a new freedom to experience and express the natural states of joy, unconditional love, and peaceful power that are always abundantly available to us regardless of external events.
Many people hide their feelings and run from painful experiences and emotions based on fearful or judgemental thoughts. This unresolved negativity weighs us down and leads to ever-increasing heaviness in mind and body. In order to keep these locked up feelings from escaping, we habitually clamp down on our respiratory system throughout the day. The good news is we can use this same breath to access the subconscious, clear repressed feelings and memories and enjoy a free mind.