CHAPTER VII – THE FOUR METHODS OF RESPIRATION
………….In the con’sideration of the question of Re’spiration, We must Be’gin by con’sidering the mechanical arrange-ments where-by The Re’spiratory Move-ments Are effected. The Mechanics of Re’spiration manifest through: (1) The Elastic Move-ments Of The Lungs – (2) The Activities Of The Sides And Bottom Of The Thoracic Cavity In-Which The Lungs Are Con’tained. The Thorax IS that portion of the trunk be’tween the neck and The Abdomen, the cavity of-which (Known as the thoracic cavity) IS occupied, mainly, by The Lungs and Heart. It IS bounded by The Spinal Column, The Ribs (with their Cartilages), The Breast-Bone, and Be’low by The Diaphragm. It IS generally spoken-of as “The Chest”. It has Been compared to a completely shut, conical box – the small end of-which IS turned up’ward – the back of the box Be’ing fORmed by The Spinal Column, the front by The Breast-Bone, and the sides by The Ribs.
………….The Ribs Are twenty-four in number – twelve on each side – and e’merge from each side of The Spinal Column. The upper seven pairs Are Known as, “True Ribs”, Be’ing fastened to The Breast-Bone directly – while the lower five pairs Are called, “False Ribs”, or “Floating Ribs”, Be’cause they Are not so-fastened; the upper-two of them Be’ing fastened by cartilage to the other ribs, the re’mainder having no cartilage and their for’ward ends Be’ing Free.
………….The Ribs Are moved in re’spiration by two super’ficial muscular layers, Known as, “The Inter-Costal Muscles”. The Diaphragm – The muscular partition Be’fORe alluded to – se’parates The Chest-Box from the abdominal cavity.
………….In the act of in’halation, The Muscles ex’pand The Lungs so that a vacuum IS created, and The Air rushes in, in-accOR’dance-with the well-Known Law Of Physics. Every’thing de’pends-upon The Muscles con’cerned-with the pro’cess of re’spiration – which We may, for con’venience, term, “The Re’spiratory Muscles”. Sans the aid of These Muscles, The Lungs can-not ex’pand. And, upon the pro’per use and con’trol of These Muscles, The Science Of Breath largely-de’pends. The pro’per con’trol of These Muscles Will re’sult-in the ability to attain the maximum degree of Lung ex’pansion, and the greatest amount of the Life-giving pro’perties of The Air into the system. The Yogis classify Respiration into Our general methods, Namely:
(1) – High Breathing
(2) – Mid Breathing
(3) – Low Breathing
(4) – Yogi Complete Breathing
………….We Will give a general idea of the first three methods, and a mORe ex’tended treat-ment of the fourth method, upon-which The Yogi Science of Breath IS largely based.
(1) – HIGH BREATHING
………….This fORm of breathing IS Known to The Western WORld as, “Clavicular Breathing”, or “Collar-Bone Breathing”. One, breathing in this way, elevates The Ribs and raises The Collar-Bone and Shoulders – at-the-same-time drawing-in The Abdomen and pushing it’s con’tents up, against The Diaphragm, which in-turn IS raised.
………….The upper-part of The Chest and Lungs (which IS the smallest) IS used, and con-sequently, only a minimum amount of air enters The Lungs. In-addition-to this, The Diaphragm, Be’ing raised, there can Be no ex’pansion in that direction. A study of The Anatomy of The Chest shall con’vince any Student that in-this-way, a maximum amount of effort IS used to ob’tain a minimum amount of benefit.
………….High Breathing IS probably the worst fORm of breathing Known to Man, and re’quires the greatest ex’penditure of Energy with the smallest amount of benefit. It IS an energy-wasting poor-returns plan. It IS quite common among The Western Races, many wo’Men Be’ing addicted to it, and even singers, clergy-Men, lawyers and Others, Who should Know-better, also use it ignor’antly.
………….Many dis-eases of The Vocal ORgans and ORgans Of Res’piration may Be directly traced to this barbarous method of breathing – and the straining of delicate ORgans caused by this method, often re’sults in the harsh, dis-agreeable voices heard on all sides. Many Per’sons Who breathe in-this-way Be’come addicted to the dis-gusting practice of “Mouth-Breathing” described in a pre-ceding chapter.
………….If The Student has any doubts a’bout what has Been said re’garding this fORm of breathing, let Him try the ex’periment of ex’pelling all The Air from His Lungs, then standing erect, with hands at sides. Let Him, then, raise The Shoulders and Collar-Bone and in’hale. He Will find that the amount of Air in’haled IS far-Be’low n’ORmal. Then let Him in’hale a full breath, after dropping The Shoulders and Collar-Bone, and He Will re’ceive an object lesson in breathing which He IS apt to re-member much longer than He would any wORds, printed or spoken.
(2) – MID BREATHING
………….This method of re’spiration IS Known to Western Students as, “Rib Breathing”, or “Inter-Costal Breathing”. And, while it IS less-objectionable than “High Breathing”, it IS far-inferior to either “Low Breathing” or to “The Yogi Complete Breath”. In Mid Breathing, The Diaphragm IS pushed up’ward, and The Abdomen drawn-in. The Ribs Are raised slightly, and The Chest IS partially ex’panded. It IS quite-common among Men Who have made no study of the sub’ject. As there Are two better methods Known, We give it only passing notice – and that, principally, to call One’s attention to it’s short-comings.
(3) – LOW BREATHING
………….This fORm of re’spiration IS far-better than either of the two pre’ceding fORms, and of recent years, many Western Writers have ex’tolled it’s merits, exploiting it under the names of, “Abdominal-Breathing”,”Deep-Breathing”,”Diaphragmic-Breathing”, etc.. Much benefit has come through The Attention of The Public having Been directed to the sub’ject, with many having Been induced to sub’stitute it for the inferior and injurious methods above alluded-to. Many “Systems” of breathing have Been built around Low Breathing, and Students have paid high prices to learn the so-called, “New” systems. But, as We have said, much benefit has re’sulted, and after All The Students Who paid high prices to learn re-vamped old systems un-doubtedly got Their money’s worth if They were induced to dis’card the old methods of High Breathing and Low Breathing.
………….Al’though many Western AuthORities write and speak of this method as the best-Known fORm of breathing, The Yogis Know it to-Be but a part of a system which They have used for centuries, and-which They Know as “The Complete Breath”. It must Be ad’mitted, how-ever, that One must Be acquainted with the principles of Low Breathing Be’fORe He can grasp the idea of Complete Breathing.
………….Let us again con’sider The Diaphragm. What IS it? We have seen that It IS the Great Partition Muscle, which separates The Chest and it’s con’tents from The Abdomen and it’s con’tents. When at rest, It pre’sents a con’cave surface to The Abdomen. That is, The Diaphragm as viewed from The Abdomen would seem like The Sky as viewed from The Earth – the interior of an arched surface. Con’sequently, the side of The Diaphragm facing to’ward the Chest ORgans IS like a pro’truding rounded surface – like a hill.
………….When The Diaphragm IS brought-into-use, the “Hill” fORmation IS lowered and The Diaphragm presses-upon The Abdominal ORgans and fORces-out The Abdomen.
………….In Low Breathing, The Lungs Are given mORe Free play than in the methods already Mentioned. And, con’sequently, mORe air IS in’haled. This fact has led the majority of Western Writers to speak and write of Low Breathing (which They often call, “Abdominal Breathing”) as the “highest” and best method Known to science. But The Oriental Yogi has long-Known of a better method, and some-few Western Writers have also re-cognized this fact. The trouble with All methods of breathing, other than “Yogi Complete Breathing” IS that in none of these methods do The Lungs Be’come filled with air. At-best, only a portion of The Lung-Space IS filled – even in Low Breathing. 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. It IS evident that any method that fills The En’tire Lung-Space must Be far-mORe preferable to those filling only certain parts. Any method which fills The En’tire Lung-Space must-Be of the greatest value to Man – in the way of allowing Him to ab’sORb the greatest quantity of Oxygen, and to store away the greatest-amount-of Prana. The Complete Breath IS Known to The Yogis as the best method of re’spiration Known.
(4) – THE YOGI COMPLETE BREATH
………….Yogi Complete Breathing in’cludes All the beneficial points of High Breathing, Mid Breathing, and Low Breathing – while e’liminating All of the objection-able features of each. It brings-into-play The En’tire Re’spiratory Apparatus: every part of The Lungs, every Air-Cell, every Re’spiratory Muscle. The En’tire Re’spiratory ORganism re’sponds to this method of breathing, and the maximum amount of benefit IS de’rived from the minimum ex’penditure of Energy. The Chest-Cavity IS in’creased to it’s n’ORmal limit’s in All directions and every part of the machinery per’fORms it’s natural wORk – functioning as It was in’tended.
………….One of the most im’pORtant features of this method of breathing IS the fact that the Re’spiratory Muscles Are fully called-into-play, where-as in the other fORms of breathing, only a portion of These Muscles Are so-used. In Complete Breathing – among other muscles, those con’trolling The Ribs Are actively used – which in’creases the space in-which The Lungs may ex’pand, and also gives the pro’per support to the ORgans when needed – Nature availing Her’self of the Per’fection of The Principle Of Leverage in this pro’cess. Certain muscles hold the lower ribs firmly in-position, while other muscles bend them out’ward.
………….Then-again, in this method, The Diaphragm IS under Per’fect con’trol and IS able to per’fORm it’s functions pro’perly, and in such manner as-to yield the maximum degree of service.
………….In the rib-action, above alluded to, The Lower Ribs Are con’trolled by The Diaphragm, which draws them slightly down’ward, while other muscles hold them in place. Sub-sequently, The Inter-Costal Muscles fORce them out’ward, which in’creases the mid-Chest-Cavity to it’s maximum. In-addition-to this muscular action, The Upper Ribs Are also lifted and fORced out’ward by The Inter-Costal Muscles, which in’creases the capacity of The Upper Chest to it’s fullest ex’tent.
………….If You have studied the special features of the four given methods of breathing, You Will, at-once, see that The Complete Breath comprises All of the advantageous features of the other three methods, plus the re’ciprocal advantages accruing from the combined action of The High-Chest, Mid-Chest, and Diaphragmic Regions… The n’ORmal Rhythm thus ob’tained.
………….In Our next chapter, We Will take-up The Complete Breath, in practice, and Will give full directions for the acquire-ment of this superior method of breathing, with exercises.