Aging Gracefully into 62, Part 3 – Breathing, the Nano Stretch with Mucho Effect
The logistics, physically and emotionally, of returning to work as a senior. Commuting, snacks, sleep, and more.
Pictured to the left, “Rosetta” – fiction. From being fit, to having a full knee replacement, back to the courage of feeling good again.
Please check my Author Page Listings for locations.
“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”
Breathing, the Nano Stretch with Mucho Effect
Other “Aging Gracefully” Related Links
Aging Gracefully into 62, Part 3 – Breathing, the Nano Stretch with Mucho Effect (in progress)
This is an older photo from another article when we were staying in Galveston.
The article is on gratitude, posted in May 2011.
Letting oneself expand with one’s own breath can be a challenge.
Doing it on the seawall does have its advantages.
Two things come to mind immediately regarding why our breath is so important.
One, it means we’re still alive on this Earth.
Two, it can be done nearly anywhere, any time. That’s big.
Dynamic vs Static Stretching
Ok, what’s this got to do with breathing? Was this supposed to be in another article?
Well, it could be in another post, but I am deliberately comparing what the intake of breath does, to a dynamic stretch, versus what is typically thought of as a static stretch.
A light static stretch is a great relaxing stretch of our arms and legs and torso and really all over, that is usually recommended after a great workout.
It helps the body cool down, helps lower our working-exercising blood pressure, and sure feels good.
Whatever is being stretched is held in place gently, and allowed to relax and reset to a less exerted exercise expectation.
A dynamic stretch is a gentle limbering movement. It warms up the muscles and makes more strenuous movement easier.
This latter stretching is still smooth, not jerky or ballistic.
Breathing, I’ve come to believe, is a combination of static and dynamic stretching.
To me, in the micro – nano level, the inhaled breath feels like it stretches the body to its range of motion, expanding the fascia and muscles, loosening tension spots.
While, in the macros – whole body area, the inhaled breath seems to aid and create a relaxed static state of rest.
The breath, our breath, is the best of both worlds, simultaneously.
Thus, breathing, is the nano stretch with mucho effect!
Mouth or Nose Breathing
I never realized this was even a topic of contention until I resumed my interest in learning and doing yoga, starting with my yoga teacher certification training with Lex Gillan in Houston.
During a morning meditation training session, when the topic of mouth vs nose breathing came up, I asked what I should do during one of my usual congested periods. At the time I was living in Galveston, which is bad enough for pollen, but am now in Austin, which is much worse!
His very good humored answer was, since we had to to live, was breathe any way we can.
Common sense and his acceptance, embracing, and teaching of the various modes of yoga practice made my choice of having him as my initial yoga trainer a very good decision.
So regarding breathing through your nose or mouth, whether in yoga or any other activity, do what you need to first, then experiment for effect when you are ready.
General Benefits of Good Breathing
There’s tons of good info on why breathing, and breathing more correctly, is good for you.
Yoga Journal has many articles, even on how to check (at a easy minimal level) to see how well you’re breathing.
A Google search of the benefits of improved breathing is really useful.
MindBodyGreen has a nice article on how to vary the length of your breathing to relax, saying:
“When your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale, the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm) sends a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system.” (emphasis in article)
Dr. Andrew Weil has three differing breathing exercises on this page, one for relaxing, one for invigorating, and one for mediating; and one uses nose only while another includes the mouth. Now that’s useful variety.
Varying my Google search to “breathing counts” brings up even more suggestions!
Here’s a list of 18 benefits of deep breathing.
And here’s a final Google search for the physiological benefits of exercise, which, for me, almost always included breathing more completely and fully.
As I mentioned in the first post in this series of aging gracefully into age 62, getting fit again was the key to enjoying doing and being able to do things that make life more satisfying.
Conclusion, Last Thoughts
Breathing, the Nano Dynamic Stretch even in a Static Pose
It’s been a couple of years now since I first began again paying any in-depth attention to my breath.
And I am continually amazed how much I become aware of within myself.
The sense of surprise I felt recently, that my body is literally doing a micro nano dynamic stretch (reaching for one’s range of motion in that stretch), as I stand or sit or lay in a static restful pose, is still very much with me, and is the impetus for this third and final posting on aging gracefully.
Or at least trying to.
Stand or sit calmly still.
Place the palms of your hands on each side of your rib cage.
Inhale softly and slowly and easily.
Feel your chest cavity expand.
Visualize and know, in reality not just symbolically, that your ribs expand apart, because there are muscles between them that allow that!
Easy to Do Anywhere
And breathing is not only necessary, it’s so easy to fit in and do anywhere.
Waiting in line at the store, or any of the other number of “lines” we seem to be in.
Sitting in freeway traffic. Yes, know that one well!
Laying in bed waking up.
Or going to sleep.
And if you watch a baby, like our new grand baby Max whether they’re exerting, sleeping, or eating – they’re breathing.
Holding My Breath
I know, growing up, especially in school, playing hide-n-seek or hoping the teacher wouldn’t “pick” on me, I held my breath.
But the habit of holding my breath is probably not a good idea.
Actually, people expect you to breath.
So often, it was just me – being self-conscious, about taking my breath.
And ok, I admit it, I’m still kinda wondering if someone’s staring, making fun of me, if I take a deep (needed) breath.
But I’m trying. One breath at a time.
Next up, my Paris Photo series.
Not immediately, as I need to choose and prepare the images. But that’ll be fun.
Thanks so much for coming by
namaste´- con dios – god be with you
INTEGRATING YOGA FITNESS AND THE ARTS
- Aging Gracefully into 62, Part 2 – Returning to Work as a Senior (felipeadanlerma.com)
- Austin Texas : PhotoPoem # 5 – Birds in the Bath (felipeadanlerma.com)
- Vermont : PhotoPoem # 5 : “Stowed Away at Stowe” (felipeadanlerma.com)
- Meditation: Am I Doing It Yet? Part 2 — “definitions mechanisms comparisons” (felipeadanlerma.com)