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Rejuvenation Through Deep Breathing

Rejuvenation through deep breathing

The practical yogins always emphasized the value of deep breathing not only as a great spiritual aid to self - culture but also as an important accessory to positive good health, youth and, therefore, to longevity. As a matter of fact, there is really no mystery or exaggeration in the claim that proper breathing methods can rejuvenate the decaying body and organs. Modern researches in the field of medical science prove beyond doubt that such renewal can be conveniently brought about by developing the respiratory apparatus - a belief which the yogins in India vigorously upheld some thousands of years ago.

Remarking on the process of rejuvenation through successful breathing, Howard in his popular work observes that, "The increase in the number of red blood cells in the body is brought about by mechanical means. The condition of the blood always adjusts itself to a variety of bodily and environmental factors. The release from a certain amount of atmospheric pressure on the body's surface lets loose blood corpuscles which were confined and pressed in some small spaces or tiny arteries and they get into general circulation. In the middle - aged persons and those beyond, there is an unequal distribution of red blood cells, due to pressure of fat, inelastic arteries and weak diaphragms. This latter breathing muscle maybe, and generally is, hindred in its freedom by an overdistended stomach or intestinal tract.

"This state of affairs means that red blood corpuscles are jammed in or pushed aside to certain extremities or into blind alleys. In these places they are concentrated, and unable to obtain oxygen, the cells die, leaving the cast - off materials to be absorbed and make wrinkles and cause stiff joints. These prisoners - red blood cells - in their concentration camps cannot get out except through tiresome efforts, and often they have exhausted much of their stored - up oxygen when they do find freedom. Under these conditions, they areas useless to the human organization as a lot of skilful mechanics would be crowded into a room and unable to get at their respective machines.

"Any mechanical movement or driving force which stirs up these red blood corpuscles puts them into circulation - starts them doing their allotted work in rejuvenating the body and its organs. Certain forms of exercise will aid in accomplishing this change from age to youth, but not unless right breathing methods are rigidly adopted and kept up.


Before practicing the various yoga breathing methods, it is quite imperative that the following observances are strictly carried out to derive maximum physiologic benefit:

  1. Make a habit of cleansing the air - passages thoroughly. Get rid of all the clogged up dust and microbes which may have accumulated in these passages. The mouth, the teeth, the nares, the nasal canal, and other air - passages etc., all need to be attended to directly every day. For such cleansing, pure water or analeptic solution may be used - neither too hot nor cold.
  2. Open up all the windows of the room and let in plenty of fresh air. If possible, select an open space free from draught, i.e., the air moving at 3 feet per second (Shaw).
  3. During breathing, unless otherwise suggested, the mouth must be closed. Do not ever let it get the best of you. When, however, you find that you cannot go on without taking a mouthful of air - due to organic or functional defects which ought to be remedied first - stop, and take in, and slow it out only through the nostrils. Breathing through mouth is a wrong habit and leads to an irritation of the throat. The nasal passages, missing the normal amount of stimulus, are also apt to lose tone; and the mucous membrane gradually becomes relaxed and falls into the state of chronic catarrh.
  4. Avoid all tight and confining clothes. A lungi or the ordinary bathing costumes are quite convenient. If possible, undress yourself - except for the waist - and expose the skin to fresh air, for even the skin breathes, and this process should also be helped.
  5. Before commencing breathing methods, it is best to stretch every inch of your body by rhythmic stretching movements.
  6. Never try extreme stretching of any part of the body with the lungs empty of air. Whenever stretching exercises are undertaken, the same should always be accompanied by deep, prolonged and rhythmic breathing. It is best to hold the breath and do the necessary stretching during the period of retention.
  7. Exhale with vigour, slowly and rhythmically and squeeze out, as it were, all the air - contents of the lungs, before making any attempt at inhalation.
  8. If your head aches, your nose or mouth feels stuffy or dry, and the stomach cramped up or overloaded, get out in the open air and breathe deeply. Keep this up for five minutes, before beginning the yoga methods of breathing. Then take some rest and get to your normal condition and start.
  9. Pay more attention to exhalation than to inhalation for if the former is successful, the latter will take care of itself. The expiration should be watched especially since, with many, the tendency is to keep the lungs full of extra stationary air - the result of incomplete exhalation. This is why many athletes suffer from acute emphysema, or dilatation of the lungs.
  10. Quick and jerky breathing might impair the elasticity of the lung - structure in men past middle life and should, therefore, be avoided in all efforts at breathing.
  11. People with weak heart and pulmonary ailments should follow the yoga breathing very mildly and should at no stage allow themselves to be overstrained. It is also not advisable for a child under the age of ten to twelve years to under - take the higher yoga breathing methods as they cause heavy pressure upon the heart.
  12. During all kinds of yoga breathing, the abdomen should be held in normal contour, unless otherwise specified. This natural condition of the abdomen encourages the deepest possible inspiration and expiration. Even though this preliminary adjustment for yoga breathing may, in the beginning require extra effort and inconvenience, the condition should necessarily be observed to derive utmost value of oxygen.
  13. The manner of deep breathing is also a matter of great importance. A large number of people in trying deep breathing unduly strain their nostrils and pull the facial muscles to such an ugly point that the air - passages which really ought to be open and dilated get cramped and closed. This not only prevents the free entrance of air but also reacts harmfully on the development of the nasal passages which ought to become accommodating with increased effort at breathing. The facial expression, is a typical example of the wrong manner of breathing which generally becomes a necessity with those who have obstructions in the nasal passages. The really convenient manner of taking in deep breath, however, is to keep the nostrils wide open, passive, and distended. This exercises the sluggish muscles and tendons of the nose, opens and expands the nasal passages, and thus helps to create more vacuity which permits of a generous and deep inhalation.
  14. Lastly, one need not be satisfied with a few minutes of respiratory exercises but must make a habit of conscious deep inspirations and expirations at several other times of the day. Conscious deep breathing is highly valuable for two purposes: firstly, to develop the respiratory organs, and secondly, to aid the circulation of the blood. This is assisted by the movements of the chest walls and the diaphragm during inspiration which create a partial vacuum in the chest cavity that draws air into the lungs and blood towards the heart.

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