Health Blog

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Waiting to Exhale

Watching the water in anticipation. That’s what so many do when they are in Hawaii or any place that you can see whales. Lucky me, I’ve seen whales from the waters of Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and am now watching the waters in Hawaii. What’s the first thing you look for when whale watching? A spout–a sign of a breath.

We wait in anticipation for a sign of a whale breath, but how often do we pay attention to our very own breath? Think about it. How are you breathing now? How have you been breathing for the last few minutes? Breath is mostly something we do unconsciously, so for the most part we just breathe as we breathe. But for our better health, physically and mentally, making sure to set time aside each day to focus on conscious breathing is important.

We usually don’t use much of our lung capacity. We exchange only about 15 to 20% of the air in our lungs. Whales are much more efficient, exchanging over 90% with each breath. This is why humpback whales (the kinds I’m watching in Hawaii) can hold their breath up to 45 minutes, though they usually breathe much more often.

Test out what it feels like to take a deeper breath. Take a slow deep breath as you feel your ribs and belly expand. Hold for a count at the top of your breath. Then breath out equally slowly, all the way out. Again hold for one count. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

How do you feel?

You won’t be able to match a whale’s breath, but you can gain the massive benefits of focused breath.

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