Yoga Complete Breathing
There is no Royal road to the Science of Breathing, and you must be prepared to practice this if you expect to receive results. The results obtained are great, and no one who has attained them would willingly go back to the old methods. Start right, and right results will follow.
This complete method takes time and patience but soon will become your natural method of breathing.
The more you exercise you are developing the chest, muscles and lungs which have been allowed to remain in an undeveloped condition by imperfect methods of breathing.
The Complete Breath is not a forced or abnormal thing, but on the contrary, is a going back to first principles: a return to Nature.
The primitive adult and the healthy infant of civilization both breathe in this manner, but civilized man has adopted unnatural methods of living, clothing, etc., and has lost his birthright.
The Complete Breath does not necessarily call for the complete filling of the lungs at every inhalation. One may inhale the average amount of air, using the Complete Breathing Method and distributing the air inhaled, be the quantity large or small, to all parts of the lungs. Even so, one should inhale a series of full Complete Breaths several times a day, whenever opportunity offers, in order to keep the system in good order and condition.
The following simple exercise will give you a clear idea of what the Complete Breath is:
- Stand or sit erect. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale steadily, first filling the lower part of the lungs, which is accomplished by bringing into play the diaphragm, which descending exerts a gentle pressure on the abdominal organs, pushing forward the front walls of the abdomen.
Then fill the middle part of the lungs, pushing out the lower ribs, reast-bone and chest. Then fill the higher portion of the lungs, protruding through the upper chest, thus lifting the chest, including the upper six or seven pairs of ribs.
In the final movement, the lower part of the abdomen will be slightly drawn in, which movement gives the lungs a support and also helps to fill the highest part of the lungs.
At first it may appear that this breath consists of three distinct movements. This, however, is not the correct idea.
The inhalation is continuous, the entire chest cavity from the lowered diaphragm to the highest point of the chest in the region of the collar-bone, being expanded with a uniform movement. Avoid a jerky series of inhalations, and strive to attain a steady continuous action.
Practice will soon overcome the tendency to divide the inhalation into three movements, and will result in a uniform continuous breath. You will be able to complete the inhalation in a couple of seconds after a little practice.
- Retain the breath a few seconds.
- Exhale quite slowly, holding the chest in a firm position, and having the abdomen in a little and lifting it upward slowly as the air leaves the lungs. When the air is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen.
A little practice will render this part of the exercise easy, and the movement once acquired will be afterwards performed almost automatically.
It will be seen that by this method of breathing all parts of the respiratory system are brought into action, and all parts of the lungs, including the most remote air cells, are exercised.
The chest cavity is expanded in all directions. You will also notice that the Complete Breath is really a combination of Low, Mid and High Breaths, succeeding each other rapidly in the order given, in such a manner as to form one uniform, continuous, complete breath.
You will find quite helpful to practice this breath before a large mirror, placing the hands lightly over the abdomen so that you may feel the movements. At the end of the inhalation, it is well to occasionally slightly elevate the shoulders, thus raising the collarbone and allowing the air to pass freely into the small upper lobe of the right lung, which place is sometimes the breeding place of tuberculosis.
At the beginning of practice, you may have more or less the difficulty in gaining the Complete Breath, but a little practice will make perfect, and when you have once achieved it, you will never willingly return to the old methods.
Physiological Effect Of The YOGA Complete Breath
Imperfect breathing allows a great part of the lungs to remain inactive, and such portions offer an inviting field for bacilli, which invading the weakened tissue soon cause havoc.
Good healthy lung tissue will resist the germs, and the only way to have good healthy lung tissue is to use the lungs properly.
Why some people have narrow chest and what does this mean?
Simply, that these people were addicted to improper habits of breathing, and as a result their chests failed to develop and expand. The man who practices the Complete Breath will have a full broad chest. The narrow chested man may develop his chest to normal proportions if he will adopt this mode of breathing.
Colds may often be prevented by practicing a little vigorous Complete Breathing whenever you feel that you are being excessively exposed. When chilled, breathe vigorously a few minutes, and you will feel a glow all over your body. Most colds can be cured by Complete Breathing and partial fasting for a day.
The quality of the blood depends, for the most part, on its proper oxygenation in the lungs. If blood is under-oxygenated it becomes poor in quality and loaded with all sorts of impurities. The system suffers from lack of nourishment, and often becomes poisoned by the waste products remaining in the blood.
As the entire body, every organ and every part, is dependent on the blood for nourishment, impure blood must have a serious effect on the entire system. The remedy is simple: practice the Hindu Yoga Complete Breath!
The stomach and other organs of nutrition suffer often from improper breathing, and they become ill because of the lack of oxygen.
The food must absorb oxygen from the blood and become oxygenated before it can be digested and assimilated, and it is shortly seen how these are impaired by an incorrect breathing.
When assimilation is not normal, the system receives less and less nourishment, the appetite fails, bodily vigor decreases, energy diminish, and the human body loses vitality and the health declines. All of this happens from the lack of proper breathing and lack of oxygen.
Even the nervous system suffers from improper breathing. The brain, the spinal cord, the nerve centers, and the nerves themselves, when improperly nourished by the blood, become poor and inefficient instruments for generating, storing and transmitting the nerve currents. Improperly nourished, they will become ill if insufficient oxygen is absorbed through the lungs.
The effect of the reproductive organs suffers sympathetically too, having a great impact on the general health.The Complete Breath produces a rhythm which is Nature's own plan for keeping this important part of the system in normal condition, and first, it will be noticed that the reproductive functions are strengthened and vitalized, in this way, by sympathetic reflex action, giving tone to the whole system. This thing, doesn’t mean that the lower sex impulses will be aroused; far from it.
The Yoga is the supporter of continence and chastity, and they have learned to control the animal passions. However, sexual control doesn't mean sexual weakness.
The Yoga teaching is that the man or woman, whose reproductive organism is normal and healthy, will have a stronger will to control him or herself. Yoga believes that the perversion of the reproductive system comes from a lack of normal health, and results from a morbid rather than a normal condition of these organs. A little careful consideration of this problem will prove that the Yoga teachings are right.
The Yoga knows that sex-energy may be conserved and used for the development of the body and mind of the individual, instead of being dissipated in unnatural excesses. You will find that the Complete Breath will do more to restore health to this part of the system than anything else ever tried.
Remember, now, I mean normal health, not excessive development. The sensualist will find that normal means a decrease of desire rather than an increase; the weakened man or woman will find a toning up and a relief from the weakness which has heretofore depressed him or her. Do not be misunderstood or misquoted on this subject. The Hindu discipline Yoga ideal is that a human body is strong in all its parts, under the control of a masterful and developed Will, animated by high ideals.
In the practice of the Complete Breath, during inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and thus exerts a gentle pressure on the liver, stomach and other organs. In connection with the rhythm of the lungs the air acts as a gentle massage of these organs by stimulating their actions, and encourages normal functioning.
Each inhalation aids in this internal exercise, and assists in producing a normal circulation of the blood and oxygen to the organs of nutrition and elimination. In High or Mid Breathing (other Yoga methods), the organs lose the benefit accruing from this internal massage.
The Western world is paying much more attention to Physical Culture just now, which is a good thing. Even so, in their enthusiasm they must not forget that the exercise of the external muscles is not everything.
The internal organs also need exercise, and Nature's plan for this exercise is proper breathing. The diaphragm is Nature's principal instrument for this internal exercise. Its motion vibrates the important organs of nutrition and elimination, and massages and moulds them at each inhalation and exhalation, forcing blood into them, and then squeezing it out, and providing a general tone to the organs.
Any organ or part of the body which is not exercised gradually atrophies and refuses to function properly. The lack of the internal exercise given by the diaphragmatic action leads to diseased organs. The Complete Breath gives the proper motion to the diaphragm, as well as exercising the middle and upper chest. It is indeed "complete" in its action.
From the perspective of Western physiology alone, without reference to the Oriental philosophies and science, this Yogi system of Complete Breathing is of vital importance to every man, woman and child who wishes to acquire health and keep it.
Its very simplicity keeps thousands from seriously considering it, while they spend fortunes in seeking health through complicated and expensive "systems." Health knocks at their door, and they answer not. Verily, the stone which the builders reject is the real cornerstone of the Temple of Health.
For A Complete Manual of THE ORIENTAL BREATHING PHILOSOPHY of Physical,Mental, Psychic and Spiritual Development
read: THE HINDU-YOGI Science of Breath
By YOGI RAMACHARAKA
Return from Yoga Complete Breathing to Breath page