Homo sapiens translates as “Wise humans.” As a species we don’t always live up to that label. We are capable of extraordinary mental and physical feats, yet are so often ruled by destructive emotions, thoughts and behaviors of which we seem barely aware.
For thousands of years, individuals and movements have sought ways to harness our abilities, manage our urges and emotions and live better lives.
The history of meditation and breath-training dates back thousands of years. And many of us today are familiar with some of these ancient traditions – Yoga, Zen Buddhism, Qigong. Most of these systems recognize the importance of our breathing for health and vitality. And many people have found these practices to be helpful or even life-changing.
And there are also newer systems like Buteyko breathing, or the Wim Hof method for boosting health and immune function.
Breath-training may have old roots, but in the modern era it has been adapted into our high-tech, smart-gadget-driven lifestyles.
Many find meditation apps useful, as well as newly-developed health and breath-training technology, like the Airofit breath-trainer. And so, it evolves, fusing existing wisdom with the latest technology to push the boundaries of human health and optimize our minds and bodies.
Ancient ideas, modern applications
Many systems of thought adhere rigidly to tradition and maintain a strict and unchanging approach. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” seems to be the thinking. But others, like the famed martial arts legend and movie star, Bruce Lee, took a different approach.
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”Bruce Lee
Lee founded his own martial arts system, Jeet Kune Do. He combined the best of existing systems and philosophies to create something more fluid and less bound by tradition. It may have upset traditionalists, but it was a good example of flexible thinking in the interests of growth and development.
And, in the west, thinkers and “philosophical entertainers” like Alan Watts popularized eastern ideas for the western audiences. He took inspiration from Zen Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu philosophy, as well as modern thought systems and lectured widely on how these ideas could help us live happier and more meaningful lives.
“Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.”Alan Watts
There are exciting new initiatives to utilize psychedelics for healing emotional trauma, PTSD and depression, with clinics offering psychotherapy using carefully administered doses of Ketamine, LSD and other drugs.
Hypnotherapy is another area that is gaining more and more respectability, and slowly shaking off associations as a form of entertainment or manipulation, to become another effective tool for personal development.
There are scientists working to harness the potential of boosting the diversity of our gut microbes, with profound consequences for our health and well-being.
And the latest technologies can analyze the breath, stimulate the Vagus nerve or tap into the power of breath-training for better health and stress reduction, to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
The advantage of a daily practice like yoga, meditation or breath-training with an app like the Airofit system, is how quick and effective they can be. And the great advantage of having an app is you get feedback and can see your improvements over time.
Nothing is quite so motivating as seeing the evidence of real progress in your performance and feeling the improvements in your day-to-day physical and mental health.Studies have shown that RMT – respiratory muscle training – has a host of physical and mental health benefits:
• Reduces stress and improves sleep
• Reduces fatigue and speeds recovery
• Improves mental focus and clarity
• Increases accessible lung capacity
• Improves sports performance
• Lowers heart rate at times of high demand
• Increases oxygen availability to muscles
• Helps with anxiety and depression
• Improves symptoms of asthma, COPD & long Covid
• Lowers blood pressure
It’s an impressive and growing list, as more new studies uncover the extraordinary power of harnessing the breath.
Health technology is evolving
In this data-driven age in which we live, we have unparalleled access to health metrics. We have smart wearables and apps that can track our heart rate, HRV, sleep habits and accessible lung capacity. We can measure steps taken, calories burned, heartbeats per minute and REM cycles each night. If we use this information to live better, healthier, longer lives, then clearly they have a very useful role to play.
By continuing to combine what is beneficial from ancient wisdom and practices, with the best new ideas and technological advances, we may yet live up to the name Homo sapiens. And right now, facing so many challenges, the world needs all the wise humans it can get.