Did you know that your respiratory rate determines how long you will live? This is a picture of an Aldabra giant tortoise. Tortoises only take three breaths per minute and have a life expectancy of up to 150 years, although one of these has been reported to live to 255 years!
Dogs breath, on average, 27 times per minute and only have a life expectancy of 10-20 years. Humans have an average respiratory rate of 17 breaths per minute and have a life expectancy of 70-85 years.
You can learn to control your own breathing to increase your life expectancy. Yogis, meditators and some athletes have known this for years and can decrease their respiratory rate consciously to less than 10 breaths per minute. If you were in hospital with a respiratory rate of 10 or less, they would call for the emergency team!!
Clearly, in order to decrease your respiratory rate, you need to take much longer breaths. This technique is used in meditation and Qi Gong, in order to help you connect to your breathing and calm your thinking mind. It is extremely beneficial for your health, especially when we are trying to boost our immune systems by decreasing stress and not worrying about the corona virus! I will be blogging about the health benefits of Qi Gong, an ancient Chinese art of movement, over the next couple of weeks to help alleviate mental stress and signs of illness.
Try this exercise to see if you can lower your breathing: Sit or lie comfortably with minimal background noise or some lovely instrumental or meditation music playing softly in the background. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth in order to connect your front and back energy channels. With your mouth closed, take a deep breath, counting to 5 as you inhale completely. Imagine drawing air into your lungs and sending that air all the way down to the bottom of your lungs. hold that breath for 5 seconds and then, slowly and gradually breath out, through your mouth, with your lips pursed, to the count of ten seconds, pushing as much air back out of your lungs as possible. Repeat this 24 times and you should have mastered the same breathing rate as a tortoise!!
Don’t worry if you find it difficult at first. Breathe in for three, hold for three and breathe out for 6 seconds at first, if 5 seconds is too much. Gradually build up your endurance and do this twice a day or, as often as you feel like. You can practice slow breathing anywhere, any time – in bed, the car, the supermarket queue or on the loo! Enjoy and see your health improve, your stress levels diminish and your lifespan increase! Namaste x #DrMargo