When you are breathing slowly and deeply, you take in large amounts of oxygen from the environment. This oxygen is taken into your circulation where it binds to red blood cells. This oxygen then provides the fuel to produce "energy" and helps to remove waste products. Thus the body needs optimal levels of oxygen for its normal cycle of building, repair and elimination.
When you are in emotional distress, oxygen levels might decrease. Breathing may become jagged, erratic, and shallow. You may find yourself breathing too fast without realising it. Anxious breathing is often linked to other physiological reactions that reflect your body's state of stress. When you are upset and emotionally stressed, you may tend to tense and tighten your muscles, constrict blood flow, elevate your heartbeat, and stimulate stress hormones across your body. Waste products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid may accumulate in your muscles.
Therapeutic breathing exercises provide a way to break this pattern and help the mind and body return to a peaceful equilibrium. We in the West are often not accustomed to taking time out to breathe correctly, whereas in many eastern cultures it is very important as they realise it contributes hugely to general well-being.
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