we learn new techniques, it would be helpful to understand just
what the breath is. The breath is more than "just the air"
we breathe. It is truly the breath of life, the vital energy of
spirit. We can live without food for up to 30 days, without water
for several days, but we cannot live without oxygen for more than
a few minutes. After 20 minutes, without sufficient oxygen the brain
brain responds to incoming stimuli according to its level of alertness.
When we need a creative solution to a problem, we need as much inspiration
as we can acquire. The word inspire is based on the roots "in"
and "spire" or literally, to breathe in. To be inspired
is to be full of the breath of life. Yogic disciplines teach that
the air we breathe is full of "prana" or the spirit of
life. The Chinese call this energy "chi". Thus to be inspired
is to be filled with spirit.
a scientific standpoint levels of oxygen in the brain are tied to
levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone
that allows us to be awake and alert. You can regulate your levels
of brain serotonin by controlling your breath. Too much serotonin
in the brain causes irritation, tension, and stress. Dropping the
levels of serotonin can result in greater relaxation and allow the
brain's intuitive, nonlinear activities to flow more smoothly.
has also been clinically proven that holding your breath has beneficial
side effects. This raises the level of carbon dioxide in the body
and brain. It also increases the level of nitrogen. For short periods
of time, this can be very refreshing to the brain. Carbon dioxide
has many beneficial effects on the body. As with anything, there
needs to be a proper balance. It has been found that increasing
the carbon dioxide levels not only improves clear thought but also
aids those who suffer from asthma.
electrical quality of the air you breathe also has an effect on
serotonin levels and thus creative alertness. The number of positive
or negative ions present measures electric air quality. Negative
ions are displaced electrons, which attach themselves to nearby
molecules. These molecules become negatively charged. It is the
negative ion of oxygen that affects us most.
you have ever stood by a waterfall or in a deep forest full of evergreens
and felt exhilarated, you have felt the effects of negatively ionized
air. The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 - 4,000
negative ions per cubic centimeter. At Yosemite Falls, you'll experience
over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand,
on a Los Angeles freeway the negative ion count is below 100 per
the negative ion content of the brain promotes alpha brain waves
and increases brain wave amplitude. This produces a different kind
of awareness than that of heightened serotonin alertness. Ion induced
alpha waves spread from the occipital areas to the parietal and
temporal, reaching the front lobes, spreading evenly across the
right and left brain hemispheres. This creates an overall clear
and calming effect, thus, promoting better concentration.
you need to produce a more heightened state of awareness for immediate
problem solving you can simply control your breathing. This facilitates
your brain's ability to concentrate properly. Here are three methods
for increasing brain hormonal and hemispherical balance.
method is slow deep breathing, holding the breath momentarily
between breaths. Holding the breath oxygenates the brain and facilitates
clarity, as well as raises carbon dioxide levels. Deep breathing
promotes alpha brain waves and relaxes the body and mind.
method is to breathe through alternating nostrils. The Chinese
believe that the nostrils are an indication of hemispherical dominance.
Whichever nostril you habitually breathe through can tell you
which side of the brain you favor. One way to open the alternate
side of the brain, to facilitate cross-hemispherical or whole
brain thinking, is to breathe through the other nostril until
it is opened. You can also hold one nostril closed, breath in,
hold the breath for five seconds, and breath out through the other
nostril. If you practice this for about ten minutes you will markedly
improve your mental clarity. You will also slow down your brain
waves, from beta to alpha, thus facilitating intuitive, inspired
third and most radical, but highly effective method of creative
problem solving is to relax and hold the breath for as long as
you can. The great Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamats, Ph.D. attributes
much of his phenomenal creativity to underwater swimming. He is
credited with more patents than Thomas Edison. He swims to deeper
parts of a swimming pool where he sits and contemplates underwater.
He has a special metal pad and pen so he can make notes. You dont
need to go underwater to simply hold your breath for as long as
you can. This helps to alter the carbon/oxygen balance in the
brain and bring greater clarity to the mind.
site was created to promote creative problem solving and enhance
overall creativity. We feel these techniques are quite valuable
to promoting this end. Coupled with the Pregnant Pause technique you can
solve most problems you encounter quickly. Since these techniques
are cumulative, your ability to synchronize your brain, detach yourself
from the problem, and see the clearest, most elegant solution will
be as natural as breathing. Learn controlled breathing and the next
problem you have will "evaporate" in its wake.