Or The Yogi Philosophy Of Physical Well-Being
by Yogi Ramacharaka (1904)
Effects Of Correct Breathing.
Scarcely too much can be said of the advantages attending the practice of the
Complete Breath. And yet the student who has carefully read the foregoing
pages should scarcely need to have pointed out to him such advantages.
The practice of the Complete Breath will make any man or woman immune to
Consumption and other pulmonary troubles, and will do away with all liability
to contract "colds," as well as bronchial and similar weaknesses.
Consumption is due principally to lowered vitality attributable to an
insufficient amount of air being inhaled. The impairment of vitality renders
the system open to attacks from disease germs. Imperfect breathing allows a
considerable part of the lungs to remain inactive, and such portions offer an
inviting field for bacilli, which invading the weakened tissue soon produce
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
Consumptives are nearly all narrow-chested. What does this mean? Simply that
these people were addicted to improper habits of breathing, and consequently
their chests failed to develop and expand. The man who practices the Complete
Breath will have a full, broad chest, and the narrow-chested man may develop
his chest to normal proportions if he will but adopt this mode of breathing.
Such people must develop their chest cavities if they value their lives. Colds
may often be prevented by practicing a little vigorous Complete Breathing
whenever you feel that you are being unduly 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 largely upon its proper oxygenation in the
lungs, and if it is under-oxygenated it becomes poor in quality and laden with
all sorts of impurities, and the system suffers from lack of nourishment and
often becomes actually poisoned by the waste products remaining uneliminated
in the blood. As the entire body, every organ and every part, is dependent
upon the blood for nourishment, impure blood must have a serious effect upon
the entire system. The remedy is plain—practice the Yogi Complete Breath.
The stomach and other organs of nutrition suffer much from improper breathing.
Not only are they ill nourished by reason of the lack of oxygen, but as the
food must absorb oxygen from the blood and become oxygenated before it can be
digested and assimilated, it is readily seen how digestion and assimilation is
impaired by incorrect breathing. And whenever assimilation is not normal, the
system receives less and less nourishment, the appetite fails, bodily vigor
decreases, and energy diminishes, and the man withers and declines. All from
the lack of proper breathing.
Even the nervous system suffers from improper breathing, inasmuch as the
brain, the spinal cord, the nerve centers, and the nerves themselves, when
improperly nourished by means of the blood, become poor and inefficient
instruments for generating, storing and transmitting the nerve currents. And
improperly nourished they will become if sufficient oxygen is not absorbed
through the lungs. There is another aspect of the case whereby the nerve
currents themselves, or rather the force from which the nerve currents spring,
becomes lessened from want of proper breathing, but this belongs to another
phase of the subject which is treated of in other chapters of this book, and
our purpose here is to direct your attention to the fact that the mechanism of
the nervous system is rendered inefficient as an instrument for conveying
nerve force, as the indirect result of a lack of proper breathing.
In the practice of the Complete Breath, during inhalation, the diaphragm
contracts and exerts a gentle pressure upon the liver, stomach and other
organs, which in connection with the rhythm of the lungs acts as a gentle
massage of these organs and stimulates their actions, and encourages normal
functioning. Each inhalation aids in this internal exercise, and assists in
causing a normal circulation to the organs of nutrition and elimination. In
High or Mid Breathing the organs lose the benefit accruing from this internal
The Western world is paying much attention to Physical Culture just now, which
is a good thing. But 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 kneads them at each inhalation and exhalation, forcing blood into
them, and then squeezing it out, and imparting a general tone to the organs.
Any organ or part of the body which is not exercised gradually atrophies and
refuses to function properly, and lack of the internal exercise afforded 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 standpoint 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.