Deep Breaths:

but what about the air quality?

September 4, 2016

“ Don't forget to breathe ”

“ Take three long, deep, cleansing breaths ”…..words I often say when leading a Visual Journals session.

Although each breath we take is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, and we don't have to think about doing it, there are different approaches to breathing. We can consciously guide and alter each breath.

In Yoga practice we are taught to breathe deeply. It relaxes and grounds us. We can breath into an area of pain or discomfort and, upon exhalation, release some of it. The practice of deep breathing detoxifies the body and calms the mind.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Buteyko method encourages shallow breathing to increase oxygen intake to all tissues and cells.

Which ever way you direct it, however you do it, one thing is certain, various methods of breathing have been shown to have their beneficial effects.

Yet, how often do we think about the quality of the air that we are breathing in? We live in a specific environment and are accustomed to a level of well being there. The modification of your environment can make you feel better or worse. A simple “change of air” could be the reason.


I was reminded of this recently. A friend of mine asked me to dog-sit Stella. I live in a city while Stella thrives in the country.

The isolated location, expansive views,  tranquil gardens and acres of surrounding trees all enhanced my “level of wellness”. The greatest benefactor, I believe, was the clean, fresh, currents of air. Windows were left open at night. The thin, light nourishing cross breeze lulled me to sleep. Each breath was as easy as it was intended to be. Could this be the missing link to peak health? If you live in a city it is easy to forget the way air should naturally smell, feel, and taste.

After only a few days at Stella's place, I noticed I was more relaxed, sleeping throughout the night. My appetite, outlook, demeanour, patience and strength were heightened. I had reached a higher level of well being.

My first night at home from this retreat was one of interrupted sleep. At about four in the morning I stepped out to the sun room. The trees in the back yard were still. Making my way into the garden, I noticed the heaviness of the atmosphere, its thick quality making it difficult to inhale deeply. It was a Monday, a weekend of neighbourhood laundry complete. Every leaf, every blade of grass, every flower petal, every surface seemed to be coated with the scent of detergents and fabric softeners.

Smell is heightened when you have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). Can others not smell this I wondered.

It brought me back many years to my research about detoxing one's environment. Carefully considering the ingredients in cleaning products, detergents and fabric softeners is one place to start I had found. Perhaps this is one good way for each of us to be actively involved in changing the quality of “city air” and, in turn, quality of life.

It is all about choice.

Some links to inspire and inform:

Remember, when detoxing one's environment, taking baby steps is key.  

If you have any comments please drop me a line here:

© Copyright 2016. J.Vanin.  All rights reserved.