“Breathing is a natural, spontaneous and effortless process that every human being does automatically and there’s nothing else we need to learn about it.”
False! To breathe is the very first thing a baby does at the moment of birth. It is synonymous to life. It is true that a baby does not have to be taught how to do it. But to say there’s nothing else we need to know about it until we leave the earth plane is false.
We do not become conscious of the importance of breathing until we are deprived of air, in case we drown, or when somebody farts in front of us.
Like most people, I never really paid much attention to breathing. We are not aware of breathing until something goes wrong and we can’t breathe.
It was only after contact with the beliefs, practices, rituals and philosophies of the people in Asia and Far East did the Western man become aware of the many varieties of breathing techniques, and the many benefits of gaining a certain degree of control over this natural automatic process.
Control of breathing, with its many varieties and types, is an essential feature in all meditation systems, yoga, mental arts (such as taekwondo, judo, karate, kung fu).
It is also the very foundation of the Indonesian practice of Kalimasada. Various techniques have been developed to heal people. And it is part of every spiritual practice of the masters of the East.
The way one breathes can have either a salutary or deleterious effect on one’s health and well-being.
Proper breathing is given so much importance by Indian gurus that they have even developed a science of breathing called pranayama.
In his book, “The Science of Breath” (published in 1904), Yogi Ramacharaka discusses the proper way of breathing not only for health, but also for spiritual development.
He said there are four different types of breathing, but the average person is totally unaware of it.
The first is high breathing, second is mid-breathing, third is low breathing and fourth is the yogi complete breathing.
High breathing is associated with physical activity, similar to when a person is panting.
According to Ramacharaka, one who breathes this way “elevates the ribs and raises the collarbone and shoulders. And sometimes drawing in the abdomen and pushing its contents up against the diaphragm, which in turn is raised.”
This is the “worst form of breathing,” he adds, as it “requires the greatest expenditure of energy with smallest amount of benefit.”
Mid-breathing is where the “diaphragm is pushed upward, and the abdomen drawn in. The ribs are raised somewhat and the chest is partially expanded.”
Low breathing “is far better than either of the two preceding forms.” It is also called “abdominal breathing” or “deep breathing.”
But there is still another form of breathing superior to all of the above called “yogi complete breathing.”
Explains Ramacharaka: “High breathing fills only the upper portion of the lungs. Mid-breathing fills only the middle and a portion of the upper parts. Low breathing fills only the lower and middle parts.”
The yogi complete breath includes all the good points of the first three types of breathing and eliminates the objectionable parts.
“It brings into play the entire respiratory apparatus, every part of the lungs, every air-cell, every respiratory muscle… a maximum amount of benefit is derived from the minimum expenditure of energy,” he points out.
The rest of Ramacharaka’s book is devoted to exercises in the complete breath and an explanation of its many physical, emotional, mental, psychic and even spiritual benefits.
Practice this complete breathing exercise for a week and experience its health effects on you.
Attend the next Soul mates, Karma and Reincarnation seminar on Oct. 18 at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Greenbelt, Makati City. For details or reservations, contact tel. nos. 8107245 or 0908-3537885.