Tortoise Breathing Technique:
Right breathing techniques are for optimum health. We breathe 20 percent less oxygen as we grow older or when we are sedentary in our activities. The tortoise breathing helps more breath per breath increasing your oxygen delivery to vital organs and reducing oxidative stress which makes you calm and tranquil.
How Emotions Change Breathing Patterns:
Abdominal breathing is parasympathetic; it decreases your heart rate and relaxes you. Breathing pattern changes in different emotional situations. During anger, our breath becomes chaotic, during a depressive state our breath becomes sluggish and if we are anxious the breathing becomes rapid and shallow.
Our breathing center is in the brain stem, the lower part of the cerebrum, the thinking brain. We human beings breathe unconsciously throughout our lives.
For example, breathing during deep sleep. But breathing in or inhalation is an effort. So we need to consciously breathe unconsciously; that’s the paradox.
Another example, is during anger if we take deep breaths and then take a pause, anger disappears because you change your breath from chest to abdomen pattern, which is converting sympathetic to parasympathetic way.
Similarly during anxiety and depressive states if you take deep rapid breathing it increases your minute ventilation (ventilation per minute). This washes carbon dioxide, keeps you in respiratory alkalosis (increases pH of the body), and makes you feel tipsy.
The tortoise breathing exercise comes from the Chinese meditative practice known as Qigong or chi kung, which combines breathing and exercise to achieve a higher state of awareness. Tortoise breathing, also known as Kuei hsi or “swallowing the breath” aims to mimic the slow, deliberate breathing of the tortoise, which is a symbol of longevity in China. Using the tortoise breathing technique, with time and practice we should be able to comfortably slow down our breathing rate to three or four breaths per minute.
Tortoise Breathing Steps:
Tortoise breath is a more breath-per-breath technique. A tortoise lives up to 400 years; the real reason of longevity is they breathe only 3 to 4 per breath.
- Begin by either sitting or lying down on your back. Take a long breath, inhaling slowly and deeply until you feel the air inside your neck.
- Swallow your breath by taking the air in your neck and forcing it down, as if you were swallowing a piece of food.
- Exhale deeply and slowly through your nostrils, not your mouth, immediately after swallowing. Repeat this inhale-swallow-exhale cycle seven times.
- Swallow the saliva in your mouth following the seventh breath. Move your tongue around the inside of your mouth to collect it and swallow several times.
Deep Breathing Benefits:
The benefits of deep conscious breathing are:
1. Breath = life. The better (fuller) you breathe, the more energy you will have. Taking deeper breaths will bring more oxygen into the body and improve your energy levels.
2. Deep breaths = less stress and better digestion. Slow deep breaths help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is when the body gets the chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal.
3. Deep breaths = less inflammation. Deep breathing is said to reduce the acidity level of the body making it more alkaline reducing your risk of infection
4. Deep breath = more awareness. The more awareness you have in the present moment, the more likely you are to connect with your intuition or internal teacher. It is a matter of learning to listen to that voice and understand it.
5. Slower breaths = better relationships. Most relationships would be better if people were less reactive. Can you imagine if instead of saying something mean, you were able to mentally step back and chill before talking?