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Breathing is the process of taking air from the atmosphere and inhaling it into the lungs. It occurs all the time without thinking. The breathing mechanism is initiated when sensors in the brain detect low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. During times of physical exertion oxygen levels decrease, and carbon dioxide levels increase, which results in an increase in breathing rate and breathing depth. During times of rest the opposite occurs

Oxygen is vital for all metabolic processes. As it enters the body it will travel down the trachea (throat), through the bronchioles (tubes leading to the lungs), and into the lungs. In the lungs there are very tiny grape-like-sacs called alveoli. The membrane on these sacks is very thin, and they are surrounded by many tiny capillaries (blood vessels) whose membrane is also very thin. It is here where oxygen from the alveoli enters the capillaries, and carbon dioxide (waste product) from the capillaries enters the alveoli. The oxygen is now carried through the blood, to the heart, where it is pumped throughout the body, and the carbon dioxide, now in the alveoli, is expelled as the person exhales. In a situation of altitude it is this process that is hindered. Because of the lower pressure of oxygen, the oxygen does not enter the capillaries as easily, and the body is deprived of oxygen.

Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that is found in the red blood cells in the blood, which is the agent that oxygen will bind to, as it enters the capillaries in the alveoli. Hemoglobin is essential in oxygen transportation. It has been shown that people who live at higher altitudes — have higher levels of hemoglobin, which acts to assist in dealing with the low pressure of oxygen. Some athletes may train at altitude in hopes of increasing their levels of hemoglobin, so when they compete at sea levels, they will have better oxygen carrying ability, and have an advantage over other athletes.

In instances of high altitude, or difficulty in breathing, you can take Chlor Oxygen (Chlorophyll), which helps to build red blood cells. There are natural ways, as well, to clean your lungs such as juicing carrots. Yoga is a great activity to participate in because it focuses on, and brings awareness to your breath. When under stress, all you have to do is breathe deeply in three consecutive breaths; this will help to lower your blood pressure. Our breath is our greatest gift. Just remember to breathe …deep!