A lot of us walk around with neck, shoulder and back pain. It’s almost epidemic in this culture that spends much of its time slumped over a computer or steering wheel. Aside from the problem of inactivity there is a subtler influence this is having on us that can affect our minds, our bodies and our spirits.
In a July, 2009 edition of the Journal Cephalalgia, a pilot study on dysfunction of breathing in chronic neck pain patients resulted in findings that chronic neck patients have decreased breathing capacity as well as poor breathing muscle strength. They also found a significant association between forward head posture and low breathing muscle strength in neck pain patients. They consider the relationship between breathing and neck pain to be an important factor in the assessment of neck pain patients, as well as in rehabilitation and medication use. In a June, 2013 edition of the Manual Therapy Journal, a study was performed to assess breathing weakness in association with chronic neck pain. The authors noted that individuals suffering chronic neck pain have weak respiratory muscles. They advise professionals treating chronic neck pain patients to consider breathing assessment and also treatment when necessary.
Interesting findings, but we yogis knew that!
Correct breathing from the diaphragm is essential to our health and even our happiness I would venture to say.
Take a moment and just notice how you breathe. Is it shallow? Do you use your neck muscles when you inhale? How long does it take you to finish a full breath? Notice any movement in the belly, ribs and lungs. There should be some.
The way we breathe is crucial to our health. Breath brings us oxygen for our cells and restores us to balance. Each inhale is an opportunity to reboot our systems. Each exhale releases waste products from our body. It’s something we all must do but most take for granted.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
A series of good long deep breaths calm the nervous system. We send a signal to the brain that it’s time to relax. We are better able to think more clearly, to rest and digest.
All the Yogi, Sufi and Taoist masters as well as the early Christian monks and mystics focused on the breath and used the it in their prayers and rituals. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find any genuine spiritual teacher or path that does not teach the vital importance of breath.
“And Lord God took the dust of the earth, and formed the body of man; and breathed into the nostrils of man the Breath of Life; and man became a living soul.”
Please join me for yoga where we practice breath and movement to become more aware of patterns that can hold us back and keep us from living full, happy healthy lives. To find a class visit my website: http://conniebowman.com/yoga.php.
Happy healthy breathing my friends and Namaste,