The Chinese sages considered the nutrition provided by air through breathing even more vital to health and longevity than that provided by food and water through digestion. We can (although I don’t recommend it), survive for weeks without food, but only minutes without air. Want to try breathing correctly? Let’s do this fun exercise.

  1. Go ahead and find a cozy place to lay down.
  2. Place your hands on your lower abdomen.
  3. Now, take a deep breath and let your abdomen expand. Your chest and shoulders may rise and your ribs may expand, but this is fine as long as your abdomen moves first.
  4. Next, slowly exhale while tightening your core and contracting your abs.
  5. Inhale for three seconds, exhale for six seconds.

We get added benefits from proper breathing – like a reduction in hypertension and increased relaxation. We’re not getting “more” or “extra” oxygen; we’re just getting the amount of oxygen that our body needs.

Furthermore, in Chinese philosophy, we only have a certain amount of breaths in a lifetime. Imagine the sea turtle. We know that the turtle has a long life span. Why, you may ask? Well, as compared to a dog, the turtle takes the longest, deepest breaths. Visualize the turtle as your power-animal when you do this exercise and you will feel it’s relaxing benefits.