Breath is extremely versatile, always adjusting itself to the needs of the moment. Notice how when you walk up stairs, your breathing rate increases. When you sit down, it slows because your muscles demand less oxygen consumption drops almost 10 percent.
When you meditate, which you can do just by paying easy attention to the breath, your breathing rate allows down even more that it does in deep sleep. Being centered in your breaths let you slow yourself down or speed yourself up as needed.
When you breathe in, your body is refreshed with air. You also receive information about your environment through smell, temperature, and humidity. Your emotional brain decides, on the basis of this information, how charged up to get, and your emotional muscles around the ribs, the heart, and the belly are massaged with each breath. Thus, the experiential dimensions of breath include metabolism, information, and emotional excitement.
Metabolism is the action of breath that feeds the fires of life. Every 4 to 5 seconds we breathe in several liters of air carrying oxygen that is then transported to the hundreds of billions of cells that make up the human body.
The oxygen helps transform the food we eat into energy, motion, and heat. Indeed, our bodies are designed to need a continuous supply, and our cells start to die in minutes if starved of oxygen. Metabolism is maintained as we take air, absorb oxygen, and excrete carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Information enters the body with every breath. Scents, temperature, and an incredible array of additional airborne data tells our brains what’s happening in the environment. And as the air goes in and out of our bodies, the breath gives us knowledge of our inner conditions as well. Our breath lets us know what is going on inside out.
Emotional excitement refers to the way we breath to gear up for action or to transition into healing and resting states. Emotional tone varies widely, but one primary dimension is excitement more or less, we are either calm or anxious in response to both outer ans inner environments. Internally, breath is a continual massage of the heart, ribcage, and belly, and we about to engage in.
Breathing addresses all three of these dimensions whether we are conscious of it or not. Every breath you take is precisely modulated to meet you body needs and at the same time provides the environmental information necessary to inform your emotional response.
Breath is designed to be primarly an unconscious activity in human beings, but when we become attentively engaged with breath, we add a fourth dimension: Consciousness.