Many methods of relaxation teach us to breath deeply, exhaling “stale” air, and emphasize a need to get “fresh air.” The Lamaze method of breathing for women while undergoing labor has taught us to breathe deep breaths. Kundalini yoga teaches rapid deep breaths. In most situations this is not a good approach.
When we have anxiety we often think we can’t get enough air, we’re trapped.
The truth is we almost always have a reserve of air in our lungs. There is almost always enough oxygen available to us at any time. The real secret of breathing is the availability of carbon dioxide in our blood.
We learned in basic science classes that humans breathe in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. That’s why you don’t want the rainforest to be cut down, because it cuts back on the planet’s supply of oxygen.
Now another difference between humans and plants, is that humans run on red blood cells that have iron as its mineral base. The red blood cells carry the oxygen to where it is needed in the body. That’s why if you are anemic, that is have fewer functioning red blood cells, you feel run down. You aren’t getting enough oxygen.
But remember, the real secret is carbon dioxide or CO2. CO2 releases oxygen from its bond to the red blood cells. So not enough CO2 means your brain and body don’t get enough oxygen. This is not a big secret; during every surgery the anesthesiologist is constantly checking a monitor that tells them how much carbon dioxide is in the breath.