There is a difference between breathing for bare survival and breathing for optimal
usage of every breath. Lungs hold about 6 pints of air, but desk workers usually
inhale only about a pint. Therefore five sixths of your lung capacity lies idle.
Learning how to breathe properly gives you more energy, allows you to sleep better,
wake up faster and suffer from less fatigue. Once you train yourself to breathe the
right way, it becomes automatic. If you smoke, you even begin smoking less or not
Retention of your breath develops control, and slow exhalations relax body tissues
to prevent your energy from becoming a form of tension. Your body sometimes
automatically relieves tension by releasing the breath in the form of a sigh or a groan.
In this exercise, begin by breathing in to the count of 4 and out to the count of 12.
Do this sequence 10 times a day, over a 2 week span of time, and gradually increase
the count until you are able to breathe in to the count of 7 seconds and out for the
count of 21 seconds. Always do each sequence 10 times. Next, inhale slowly to the
count of 4, hold it for the count of 16 and exhale slowly to the count of 8. When
counting in this exercise, you might repeat, "Peace, Peace, Peace" or "Calm, Calm,
Calm," for added relaxation. You can also mentally repeat the mantra, "AUM" over
and over while you breathe. Next, increase the count ratio to 8:32:16, and then to
16:64:32. Always master one sequence comfortably before progressing to the next.
By holding your breath, nervous feelings can often be reduced as you auto-
matically tend to do in times of stress. By diaphragmatic, rhythmic breathing,
regulation of the autonomic functions is more easily controlled. Emotional changes
and shifts in moods are kept in check. Susceptibility to disease is lessened with a
higher oxygen assimilation, and many startling, mental feats are easily achieved.
Because of gravity, blood within the lungs favors the lower areas. Therefore when
air is drawn into those areas, a more efficient mixing of blood and oxygen is
Studies reveal that diaphragmatic muscles and the nerves governing their move-
ment can produce relatively strong muscular electricity, the intensity of which varies
with one's power of thought. Use of the body's bioelectricity is developed in some
martial artists to such a high level that a powerful charge of energy can be delivered to
an enemy from up to 10 feet away without touching him (see "Exercise --
Electromagnetic Field Awareness")!