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Learning how to inhale completely can dramatically increase your energy.

As you use learn how to use your full lung capacity, you will increase the oxygen available to your brain, heart, lungs and every cell of your body.

I remember years ago, I had a friend who was a naturopath. He told me that one day he borrowed a device from his local hospital that measured oxygen uptake. He said that most of the people sitting at desks in his office had such low cellular oxygen that they would have required extra oxygen had they been hospitalized.

Many people are not aware how our habit of schlumping collapses our lungs, decreases the oxygen to our brain and body and dramatically restricts the energy we have available.

The first exercise in my Eight Minutes To Inner Peace pranayama breath work routine is Inhale.

You can follow along the directions by watching at the following link.

Here’s the thing about inhaling:

There are two sides of your nervous system:

  1. The sympathetic side  – which responds to stress
  2. The parasympathetic side – which helps us relax.

When we are healthy, the two sides of your nervous system are balanced.

What’s a simple way to tell if your nervous system is balanced in this moment?

All you have to do is check your breath.

If it’s easy to inhale but difficult to exhale, you are stuck in your sympathetic nervous system. This is usually the case with people who have high blood pressure, anxiety or stress.

If you notice that your inhale is shallow but you are exhaling longer than your inhale, you are stuck in your parasympathetic nervous system. This could be the case if you are feeling depressed.

Most people breathe primarily into their upper chest and do not use their full lung capacity.

As you practice filling your entire lungs with oxygen, you will feel more energized, inspired and ready for anything.

What now seems like lightyears ago, I suffered from asthma.

That’s actually how I first got into fitness.

I was working as a newspaper reporter at the time and I remember having a hard time breathing as I walked from the newspaper offices to my car across a flat parking lot.

Being intelligent, I thought the fact that I got out of breath walking in a flat parking lot was totally ridiculous.

My medical doctor had prescribed not just one but two steroid inhalers.

No one told me to start exercising – certainly not my medical doctor at the time.

I myself came to the brilliant conclusion that I would be less likely to be lightheaded and wheezy walking to my car if I became more fit.

Somehow on my own I came to this rather intelligent conclusion and joined the local YMCA. I got a card to remember my workout routine in the gym and began attending aerobics classes.

However, it wasn’t until years later, when I was 34 (21 years ago now!), that I began practicing yoga and learned that there are people who are highly trained to teach others how to breathe. After becoming a yoga teacher, I learned the techniques of pranayama – breath work – and have since taught countless others how to enjoy their full lung capacity.

Medical doctors who have studied my lungs in recent year can’t find a trace of the asthma that once required me to use two inhalers every day of my life.

What is healing? Healing happens when you learn how to breathe, even if you think you already know how.