lungs are to the body what the bellows are to the fires of the forge.
The more regularly and vigorously the air is forced through the
bellows and through the lungs, the livelier burns the flame in the
smithy and the fires of life in the body.
deep, regular breathing systematically for one week, and you will
be surprised at the results. You will feel like a different person,
and your working capacity, both physically and mentally, will be
plentiful supply of fresh air is more necessary than food and drink.
We can live without food for weeks, without water for days, but
without air only a few minutes.
Process of Breathing
every inhalation, air is sucked in through the windpipe or trachea,
which terminates in two tubes called bronchi, one leading to the
right lung, one to the left. The air is then distributed over the
lungs through a network of minute tubes, to the air cells, which
are separated by only a thin membrane from equally fine and minute
blood vessels forming another network of tubes.
oxygen contained in the inhaled air passes freely through these
membranes, is absorbed by the blood, carried to the heart and thence
through the arteries and their branches to the different organs
and tissues of the body, fanning the fires of life into brighter
flame all along its course and burning up the waste products and
poisons that have accumulated during the vital processes of digestion,
assimilation and elimination.
the blood has unloaded its supply of oxygen, it takes up the carbonic
acid gas which is produced during the oxidation and combustion of
waste matter and carries it to the lungs, where the poisonous gases
are transferred to the air cells and expelled with the exhaled breath.
This return trip of the blood to the lungs is made through another
set of blood vessels, the veins, and the blood, dark with the sewage
of the system, is now called venous blood.
the lungs the venous blood discharges its freight of excrementitious
poisons and gases, and by coming in contact with fresh air and a
new supply of oxygen, it is again transformed into bright, red arterial
blood, pregnant with oxygen and ozone, the life-sustaining elements
of the atmosphere.
explains why normal, deep, regular breathing is all-important to
sustain life and as a means of cure. By proper breathing, which
exercises and develops every part of the lungs, the capacity of
the air cells is increased. This, as we have learned, means also
an increased supply of life-sustaining and health-promoting oxygen
to the tissues and organs of the body.
Effects of Shallow Breathing
few people breathe correctly. Some, especially women, with tight
skirtbands and corsets pressing on their vital organs, use only
the upper part of their lungs. Others breathe only with the lower
part and with the diaphragm, leaving the upper structures of the
lungs inactive and collapsed.
those parts of the lungs that are not used, slimy secretions accumulate,
irritating the air cells and other tissues, which become inflamed
and begin to decay. Thus a luxuriant soil is prepared for the tubercle
bacillus, the pneumococcus and other disease-producing bacilli and
habit of shallow breathing, which does not allow the lungs to be
thoroughly permeated with fresh air, accounts in a measure for the
fact that one-third of all deaths result from diseases of the lungs.
To one individual perishing from food starvation, thousands are
dying from oxygen starvation.
culture is more important than other branches of learning and training
which require more time and a greater outlay of time, money and
effort. In the Nature Cure regimen, breathing exercises play an
effectiveness of breathing exercises and of all other kinds of corrective
movements depends upon the mental attitude during the time of practice.
Each motion should be accompanied by the conscious effort to make
it produce a certain result. Much more can be accomplished with
mental concentration, by keeping your mind on what you are doing,
than by performing the exercises in an aimless, indifferent way.
in the open air as much as possible and at all events sleep with
your occupation is sedentary, take all opportunities for walking
out of doors that present themselves. While walking, breathe regularly
and deeply, filling the lungs to their fullest capacity and also
expelling as much air as possible at each exhalation. Undue strain
should, of course, be avoided. This applies to all breathing exercises.
not breathe through the mouth. Nature intends that the outer air
shall reach the lungs by way of the nose, whose membranes are lined
with fine hairs in order to sift the air and to prevent foreign
particles, dust and dirt, from irritating the mucous linings of
the air tract and entering the delicate structures of the lungs.
Also, the air is warmed before it reaches the lungs by its passage
through the nose.
the exhalations take about double the time of the inhalations. This
will be further explained in connection with rhythmical breathing.
not hold the breath between inhalations. Though frequently recommended
by teachers of certain methods of breath culture, this practice
is more harmful than beneficial.
The Proper Standing Position
great importance is the position assumed habitually by the body
while standing and walking. Carelessness in this respect is not
only unpleasant to the beholder, but its consequences are far-reaching
in their effects upon health and the well-being of the organism.
the other hand, a good carriage of the body aids in the development
of muscles and tissues generally and in the proper functioning of
cells and organs in particular. With the weight of the body thrown
upon the balls of the feet and the center of gravity well focused,
the abdominal organs will stay in place and there will be no strain
upon the ligaments that support them.
assuming the proper standing position, stand with your back to the
wall, touching it with heels, buttocks, shoulders and head. Now
bend the head backward and push the shoulders forward and away from
the wall, still touching the wall with buttocks and heels. Straighten
the head, keeping the shoulders in the forward position. Now walk
away from the wall and endeavor to maintain this position while
taking the breathing exercises and practicing the various arm movements.
this position as often as possible during the day and try to maintain
it while you go about your different tasks that must be performed
while standing. Gradually this position will become second nature,
and you will assume and maintain it without effort.
the body is in this position, the viscera are in their normal place.
This aids the digestion materially and benefits indirectly the entire
practice of the above will correct protruding abdomen and other
defects due to faulty position and carriage of the body.
following breathing exercises are intended especially to develop
greater lung capacity and to assist in forming the habit of breathing
properly at all times. The different movements should be repeated
from three to six times, according to endurance and the amount of
time at disposal.
With hands at sides or on hips, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply,
bringing the entire respiratory apparatus into active play.
(To expand the chest and increase the air capacity of the lungs.)
the shoulder forward in several separate movements,
inhaling deeper at each forward jerk. Exhale slowly, bringing the
shoulders back to the original position.
the exercise, jerking the shoulders backward in similar manner while
inhaling. Alternate the movements, forcing the shoulders first forward,
Stand erect, arms at sides. Inhale, raising the arms forward
and upward until the palms touch above the head, at the same time
raising on the toes as high as possible. Exhale, lowering the toes,
bringing the hands downward in a wide circle until the palms touch
Stand erect, hands on hips. Inhale slowly and deeply, raising the
shoulders as high as possible, then, with a jerk, drop them as low
as possible, letting the breath escape slowly.
Stand erect, hands at shoulders. Inhale, raising elbows
sideways; exhale, bringing elbows down so as to strike the sides
Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly, at the same time clapping the
chest with the palms of the hands, covering the entire surface.
six exercises are essential and sufficient. The following four may
be practiced by those who are able to perform them and who have
time and inclination to do so.)
Stand erect, hands at sides. Inhale slowly and deeply, at the same
time bringing the hands, palms up, in front of the body to the height
of the shoulders. Exhale, at the same time turning the palms downward
and bringing the hands down in an outward circle.
Stand erect, the right arm raised upward, the left crossed
behind the back. Lean far back, then bend forward and touch the
floor with the right hand, without bending the knees, as
far in front of the body as possible. Raise the body to
original posture, reverse position of arms, and repeat the exercise.
Inhale while leaning backward and changing position of arms, exhale
while bending forward.
Position erect, feet well apart, both arms raised. Lean back, inhaling,
then bend forward, exhaling, touching the floor with both hands
between the legs as far back as possible.
Horizontal position, supporting the body on palms and toes. Swing
the right hand upward and backward, flinging the body to the left
side, resting on the left hand and the left foot.
Return to original position, repeat the exercise, flinging the body
to the right side. Inhale while swinging backward,
exhale while returning to position.
diaphragm is a large, flat muscle, resembling a saucer, which forms
the division between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity.
By downward expansion it causes the lungs to expand likewise and
to suck in the air. The pressure of air being greater on the outside
of the body than within, it rushes in and fills the vacuum created
by the descending diaphragm. As the diaphragm relaxes and becomes
contracted to its original size and position, the air is expelled
from the body.
(To stimulate the action of the diaphragm)
flat on floor or mattress, the head unsupported. Relax the muscles
all over the body, then inhale deeply with the diaphragm only, raising
the wall of the abdomen just below the ribs without elevating either
the chest or the lower abdomen. Take about four seconds to inhale,
then exhale in twice that length of time, contracting the abdomen
below the ribs.
on your back on a bed or couch, knees raised. Relax thoroughly,
exhale and hold the breath after exhalation. While doing so, push
the abdomen out and draw it in as far as possible each way. Repeat
these movements as long as you can hold the breath without straining,
then breathe deeply and regularly for several minutes, then repeat
the massage movements.
to deep breathing, I consider this practice of greater value than
any other physical exercise. It imparts to the intestines
an other abdominal organs a "washboard" motion which acts
as a powerful stimulant to all the organs in the abdominal cavity.
Internal massage is especially beneficial in chronic constipation.
This exercise may be performed also while standing or walking. It
should be practiced two or three times daily.
Breathing Exercises to Be Taken in Bed
With hands at side, inhale slowly and deeply, as directed in Exercise
Number (1), filling and emptying the lungs as much as possible,
but without straining. Practice first lying on the back, then on
Using one- or two-pound dumbbells, position recumbent on
back, arms extended sideways, dumbbells in hands. Raise the arms
with elbows rigid, cross arms over the chest as far as possible,
at the same time expelling the air from the lungs. Extend the arms
to the sides, inhaling deeply and raising the chest.
Lie flat on the back, arms at sides. Grasping the dumbbells, extend
the arms backward over the head, inhaling. Leave them in this position
for a few seconds, then raise them straight above the chest, and
lower them slowly to the original position. Exhale during the second
half of this exercise.
a variation, cross the arms in front of the body instead of bringing
is a fact not generally known to us western people (our attention
had to be called to it by the "Wise Men of the East"),
that in normal, rhythmical breathing exhalation and inhalation take
place through one nostril at a time: for about one hour through
the right nostril and then for a like period through the left nostril.
breath entering through the right nostril creates positive
electro-magnetic currents, which pass down the right side of the
spine, while the breath entering through the left nostril sends
negative electro-magnetic currents down the left side of
the spine. These currents are transmitted by way of the nerve centers
or ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system, which is situated
alongside the spinal column, to all parts of the body.
the normal, rhythmical breath exhalation takes about twice the time
of inhalation. For instance, if inhalation require four seconds,
exhalation, including a slight natural pause before the new inhalation,
requires eight seconds.
balancing of the electro-magnetic energies in the system depends
to a large extent upon this rhythmical breathing, hence the importance
of deep, unobstructed, rhythmic exhalation and inhalation.
order to establish the natural rhythm of the breath when it has
been impaired through catarrhal affections, wrong habits of breathing,
or other causes, the following exercise, practiced not less than
three times a day (preferably in the morning upon arising, at noon,
and at night), will prove very beneficial in promoting normal breathing
and creating the right balance between the positive and the negative
electro-magnetic energies in the organism.
thoroughly, then close the right nostril and inhale through
the left. After a slight pause change the position of the
fingers and expel the breath slowly through the right nostril.
Now inhale through the right nostril
and, reversing the pressure upon the nostrils, exhale through
this exercise from five to ten times, always allowing twice as much
time for exhalation as for inhalation. That is, count three, or
four, or six for inhalation and six, eight, or twelve, respectively,
for exhalation, according to your lung capacity. Let your
breaths be as deep and long as possible, but avoid all strain.
exercise should always be performed before an open window or, better
yet, in the open air, and the body should not be constricted and
hampered by tight or heavy clothing.
breathing may be practiced standing, sitting, or in the recumbent
position. The spine should at all times be held straight and free,
so that the flow of the electro-magnetic currents be not obstructed.
If taken at night before going to sleep, the effect of this exercise
will be to induce calm, restful sleep.
practicing the "alternate breath," fix your attention
and concentrate your power of will upon what you axe trying to accomplish.
As you inhale through the right nostril, will the magnetic currents
to flow along the right side of the spine, and as you inhale through
the left nostril, consciously direct the currents to the left side.
is more virtue in this exercise than one would expect, considering
its simplicity. It has been in practice among the Yogi of India
since time immemorial.
wise men of India knew that with the breath they absorbed not only
the physical elements of the air, but life itself. They taught that
this primary force of all forces, from which all energy is derived,
ebbs and flows in rhythmical breath through the created universe.
Every living thing is alive by virtue of and by partaking of this
more positive the demand, the greater the supply. Therefore, while
breathing deeply and rhythmically in harmony with the universal
breath, will to open yourself more fully to the
inflow of the life force from the source of all life in the innermost
parts of your being.
intimate connection of the individual soul with the great reservoir
of life must exist. Without it life would be an impossibility.
While the alternate breathing exercises are very valuable for overcoming
obstructions in the air passages, for establishing the habit of
rhythmic breathing and for refining and accelerating the vibratory
activities on the physical and spiritual planes of being, they must
be practiced with great caution. These, and other "Yogi"
breathing exercises, are powerful means for developing abnormal
psychical conditions. They are therefore especially dangerous to
those who are already inclined to be physically and mentally negative
and sensitive. Such persons must avoid all practices which tend
to refine excessively the physical body and to develop prematurely
and abnormally the sensory organs of the spiritual body. The most
dangerous of these methods are long extended fasting, raw food diet,
that, is, a diet consisting of fruits, nuts, oils and raw vegetables
and excluding the dalry products, "Yogi" breathing, and
"sitting in the silence." That is, sitting in darkness,
in seclusion or in company with others, while keeping the mind in
a passive, receptive condition for extraneous impressions. These
practices tend to develop very dangerous phases of abnormal and
subjective psychism, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, mediumship