BOOK III, Miscellaneous Papers



Deep breathing is the very basic of all round good health. Deep breathing should be a habit.


When we are asleep, the Subconscious Mind directs the breathing. Also when we are awake the Subconscious Mind directs the breathing except when we are consciously directing it, as when we are doing Breathing Exercises.


An average person breathes in and out about 19 times a minute. Deep breathing means that the frequency is 14 times a minute or lower.


There are two ways of breathing, namely, belly breathing where the diaphragm rises for the in-breath and falls for the out-breath, and chest breathing. The correct breathing for general purpose is belly breathing. When you have run a race and are winded and are gasping for breath, you do chest breathing. Your body requires oxygen quickly and this is obtained by chest breathing.


Deep breathing should be a lifelong habit. Whether you are lying on a bed or sitting or standing or walking, you should do belly breathing. As you inhale, allow your diaphragm to rise up and your sides to fill out, and as you exhale there should be a gradual collapse of the diaphragm and of the sides.


You must not mix up in your mind the frequency of your breaths and the pulse rate, namely, the rate of beating of your heart. Conscious slow breathing for only a short while will not slow down your pulse rate immediately. Only prolonged conscious slow breathing, which will automatically be accompanied by a relaxation of your emotions, will reduce your pulse rate. The habit of deep breathing will reduce your pulse rate, which is very desirable.


Here are a few deep breathing Exercises:



General deep breathing


Inhale slowly, through the nose, mentally counting 1,2,3,4,5. Exhale through the nose; count the same 1,2,3,4,5. As a variation do not count when exhaling, and pay no heed whether you take a longer time than it takes to count 1,2,3,4,5, or a shorter time than 1,2,3,4,5.


Inhale and exhale for at least 20 times. If you have the time, breathe in and out for 30 times or more. You cannot overdo the exercise. When you have finished your exercise each day, your subconscious will take over and carry on with your breathing.


You should do this Exercise many times a day, the more the merrier.


After you have fully breathed out through the nose, you will be surprised to find that you can still breathe out some more air through your mouth. There is no great merit in breathing out through the mouth, but you may want to play about with it, especially when you come to the stage of real deep breathing.


The next day, count up to 6 for the in-breaths and keep increasing every day up to 10. Later increase by one for every 2 days. Then every 3 days. You will know by now when you need not increase any further.


As a variation from gradual slow inhalation, try separate bouts of sniffing. If you are to count up to 5, take 5 sniffs instead. There is no advantage in sniffing as opposed to gradual inhalation, but it may help in your counting.



Breathing Before Sleep


When you are in bed just before going to sleep, deep breathing is a sleep inducer. When breathing, count the same number 1,2,3,4,5, as you did in the morning and during the day. As you increase to 6 the next morning, increase likewise when in bed that night. When you are feeling drowsy, your subconscious will take over and you will soon be asleep.


When walking, take two in-breaths for the first two steps left, right, and exhale for the next two steps, left, right. Then keep repeating. After some time, you will find that you can walk at a faster rate than before. Keep up the rhythm, even when talking to friends during your walk. When playing golf, you will find an added interest between your shots.


Jogging for a mile a day will keep you fit. It will improve your blood circulation, and good blood circulation is important for good health. Breathe in and out as in walking, namely, breathe in for two consecutive steps, left, right, and breathe out for the next two consecutive steps, left, right. You should try the experiment of breathing in for every 4 steps and breathing out for every 4 steps. Later, when you cannot maintain the breathing for every 4 steps, breathe in for every 3 steps and breathe out for every 3 steps. You may have some difficulty at first in breathing in and breathing out for every 3 steps, but you can do it if you try. Then end up with breathing in and out for every 2 steps.


At the end of your jogging or running, when you are out of breath and gasping, you must do chest breathing and not belly breathing. If you are now stationary, breathe with your chest, in, out, in, out, quickly till your chest breathing can be slower and deeper. Carry on till you recover your breath and can change over to belly breathing. If you however choose to walk after a bit of jogging, breathe with your chest once for every step, namely, in with the left and out with the right. Or you may have to breathe in and out once for every step. There need be no fixed rule. Carry on till you have regained your breath and can change over to belly breathing.



Walking up Steps


When walking up steps, you should breathe as when walking. Breathe in for the first two steps and breathe out for the next two steps. You will be surprised how much easier it is to walk up steps when breathing correctly. When you are fit physically you can run up steps while breathing correctly and not lose your breath so easily.



Healing Breath


Say you are counting 5 for the in-breaths. Now keep the air in your chest for double the number of counts; in this case, 10. Then exhale through your nose as quickly or as slowly as you want. You can try exhaling completely through your mouth, and this will help to fill your lungs in your next in-breath.


Repeat for 10 or 20 times more. This Exercise is good for those with respiratory ailments.

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