Methods of Breathing
Nostril Breathing: breathing in and out the nose. Make a habit of using your nose for the function for which it was designed: breathing. The nose filters the incoming air, taking out particulates and even bacteria and viruses before they can go farther into your body. You automatically reduce the chances of becoming ill. The nose warms the incoming air so that it does not shock the lungs as it enters them, and the lungs stay more relaxed and open. As you exhale through your nose, you expel the particles that were fi ltered out on the inhale. Your nose can become clogged and become a breeding ground for disease when you do not use it. The nostrils are your only protection for the sensitive respiratory organs from the outside environment.
Mouth Breathing: breathing in and out the mouth. The habit of mouth breathing is most unhealthy. The mouth affords no protection for the lungs and other breathing organs. Dust, cold air, pollens, germs, and contaminants have direct access to the body. Many diseases are contracted in this manner. Inflammation often occurs with the inhalation of cold air through the mouth. No animal except man breathes through the mouth, except in cases where mouth breathing is used as a means of cooling off, as in panting dogs and basking crocodiles. There are some breathing patterns used in oriental breathing disciplines which use mouth breathing; however, it is primarily used during exhalation.
High Breathing: breathing in the upper chest only. Those who breathe in this manner elevate the ribs, lift the shoulders, suck in the stomach and raise the diaphragm. This manner of breathing brings in the smallest amount of air, for the most effort. There is no true lung expansion and only the smallest parts of the lungs are being used.
Middle Breathing: breathing from the diaphragm up into the upper chest only. The middle and upper parts of the lungs are used in this pattern; however, the stomach is still drawn in and the diaphragm raised. While more preferable than high breathing, it is still ineffi cient.
Low Breathing: breathing into the abdomen only. This form is also called abdominal breathing. When you breathe in this fashion, the diaphragm is used in the proper manner. The diaphragm pushes out the abdomen on the inhale and pulls in the abdomen on the exhale. The lower and middle parts of the lungs are used. This form is more effi cient than either high or middle breathing processes.
Complete Breath: breathing from the abdomen to the top of the chest with back expansion. This form of breathing incorporates all of the good aspects of high, middle, and low breathing, and eliminates any drawbacks. The complete breath fi lls the entire lung space and is of the greatest value in that it allows for the greatest absorption of oxygen and life energy.
The Complete Breath is performed in the following manner:
• Standing or sitting erect, inhale through your nostrils into the lower part of your lungs, pulling down the diaphragm and pushing out the abdomen.
• Then bring the fl ow of breath into the middle lungs, pushing out the lower ribs and breastbone and expanding the back.
• Next move into fi lling the upper lungs by lifting the chest and opening the upper sets of ribs, keeping the shoulders relaxed.
• The whole inhalation is completed in one even movement, lasting for several seconds.
• Exhale through the nose while holding the chest in its expanded position.
• Draw in the abdomen and lift the diaphragm allowing the air to leave your lungs.
• When the air is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen and begin again.
The average person moves a pint of air with each breath, while the average lung capacity is around fi ve pints. With practice, full, relaxed, complete breathing soon becomes second nature, replacing habits of restricted breathing.
Breathing to Calm The Spirit
Breathing to Initiate Core Engagement.
Inhaling in the back and sides of the ribs, exhaling to isometrically contract the lower abdomen. Imagine a sphere in your lower abdomen at your center (hara) which narrows in diameter as you exhale.
With Loving Kindness,