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  • Writer's pictureRashidi Kabamba

RKease Workshop: Physical Well-Being (Social)

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

"Breathing in, I calm the body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know is the only moment." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Focus on your mind, focus on your breath, it'll sustain your health, and you'll escape from death.

Now for the RKease workshop, we have three components and in a recent blog we spoke about the mental well-being portion and how education is a strong remedy for the mind. In this blog we will dive deeper into breaking down the physical well-being portion because we have three sections to accommodate the definition of "health" according to the World Health Organisation. The definition of "health" is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” . Therefore there is a social, mental, and physical aspect of my workshop in order to make it the most effective. Now let's expound on this physical side.

(Breathe: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor)

I remember one time being sick, and I took a visit to take some courses at the local hospital and the nurses were conducting lessons in Qi-Gong and were instructed the patients on breathing exercises. Therefore, I was able to participate and was extremely inspired by it and from then on I got so much more curious as to what breathing exercises are. Throughout out doing intensive research, I was able to read this book called "Breathe: The New Science of a Lost Art" by James Nestor who went into intensive research on the power of breathing and breath control. I read the book in only a couple of days because I was so fascinated with all the scientific experiments, facts, and understandings he was providing. Here's one of the most intriguing quotes that made the book worthwhile on how nasal breathing has a direct impact on the autonomic nervous system.

"The right and left nasal cavities also worked like an HVAC system, controlling temperature and blood pressure and feeding the brain chemicals to alter our moods, emotions, and sleep states. The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you’re inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation speeds up, your body gets hotter, and cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all increase. This happens because breathing through the right side of the nose activates the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight or flight” mechanism that puts the body in a more elevated state of alertness and readiness.

(Autonomic Nervous System)

Breathing through the right nostril will also feed more blood to the opposite hemisphere of the brain, specifically to the prefrontal cortex, which has been associated with logical decisions, language, and computing. Inhaling through the left nostril has the opposite effect: it works as a kind of brake system to the right nostril’s accelerator. The left nostril is more deeply connected to the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-relax side that lowers temperature and blood pressure, cools the body, and reduces anxiety. Left-nostril breathing shifts blood flow to the opposite side of the prefrontal cortex, the right area that plays a role in creative thought, emotions, formation of mental abstractions, and negative emotions."

The foundation of stress management physically is to balance the autonomic nervous system and make it stable. Your sympathetic nervous system is your fight or flight response, while your parasympathetic nervous system is your rest and digest that enables you to relax and feel relieved after the stressful situation is over. Therefore nasal breathing influences your parasympathetic nervous system to start working earlier and decreases your stress instantly. This is the reason why I want to incorporate a breathing exercise within my workshop, so that people can feel at ease, relieved, and at peace.

Overall, this is the inspiration for my breath control exercise, and I am going to do a part 2 as to why breathing is essential for the mind-body connection as well shortly. Hopefully, you enjoyed the blog, and have a great rest of the day, peace!! :)

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