The human condition doesn’t like oxygen very much, oxygen in high concentrations has a rusting effect on the body leading to plaque being formed inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
When we breathe in we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. The oxygen is transported in the blood stream by binding hemoglobin to tissue cells where it is needed. It goes into the cells and the battery packs of the cells – the mitochondria – we have several thousand in each cell. They go in, the oxygen burns glucose. Mitochondria are like a fire burning and produce a reaction called oxidation, to produce energy, ATP, which is a biophotonic light energy, which is the currency of energy in the body.
Too much oxygen can lead to negative side effects just like the California wildfires. TO much wind makes the fires burn out of control. But too little oxygen and fire doesn’t burn at all. The same applies with excess oxygen in our physiological system. We need the right balance of oxygen. This is what the practice of pranayama is all about. It is about producing the right amount of oxygen in the body and using it efficiently.
Too much oxygen constricts blood vessels and leads to oxidation stress and early cell death. One the other had, carbon dioxide dilated blood vessels. We can increase our life span by slowing down our breath and using oxygen more efficiently. Becoming more efficient at using oxygen, means we need to breathe less, with less urgency to breath, means our breath rate slows down, which means we have less oxidative stress, we product more mitochondria, our telemeter length increases, which result in less disease, and our life span increases.
Using pranayama practices, that incorporate breath retention, makes the body adapt to having better reserves and supply of oxygen, which means you need less oxygen, and need to breathe less to live longer. Original forms of yoga and tantric yoga were all about static contraction where you hold a pose or asana to the point of exhaustion which cuts off supply of oxygen to the muscle. The muscle is forced to produce better reserves of energy in the body, and increases blood supply to that region and also triggers hypoxia in the muscle, so stem cells wake up, muscle increases strength and becomes more resilient to stress. This trains the muscle cells in the area to be more efficient at using oxygen.
Strength requires pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, as a metaphor for life. Go beyond your comfort zone in any area of your life to create strength in that area.
If you are interested in learning to become more efficient at using oxygen join our free weekly breathwork session on ZOOM.
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