CHAPTER III – THE EXOTERIC THEORY OF BREATH
………….In this chapter We WILL give You, briefly, the theories of The Western Scientific WORld – re’garding the functions of The Respiratory ORgans, and the part in The Human economy, played by The Breath. In sub-sequent chapters, We WILL give the additional theories and a’certained facts of The Oriental School Of Thought and re’search. The Oriental accepts the theories and facts of His Western Brothers (which have Been Known to Him for centuries) and adds there-to, much that The Latter do not now accept – but which They shall, in due-time “discover” – and which, after re-naming, They shall pre’sent to The WORld as A Great Truth.
………….Be’fORe taking-up The Western Idea, it would per’haps Be better to give a brief and general idea of The ORgans Of Respiration.
………….The ORgans Of Re’spiration con’sist-of The Lungs, and The Air passages leading to them. The Lungs Are two in number, and occupy The Pleural Chamber of The Thorax – one on each side of The Median Line – separated from each-other by: The Heart, The Greater Blood Vessels, and the larger air tubes. Each Lung IS free in All directions, ex’cept at the root – which con’sists, chiefly, of The Bronchi, Arteries, and Veins connecting The Lungs with The Trachea and Heart. The Lungs Are spongy and porous, and their tissue IS very elastic. They Are covered with a delicately con’structed, but strong sac – Known-as “The Pleural Sac”. One wall, of-which, closely-adheres to The Lung – and the other, to the inner-wall of The Chest, which secretes a fluid that allows the inner-surfaces of the walls to glide easily upon each-other, in the act of breathing.
………….The Air Passages con’sist of the interior of The Nose, Pharynx, Larynx, Trachea, and The Bronchial Tubes. When We breathe, We draw-in The Air through The Nose. There, it IS warmed by contact with The Mucous Membrane – which IS richly supplied with Blood. After it has passes through The Pharynx and Larynx, it passes into The Trachea (or “Wind-Pipe”), which sub-divides into numerous tubes called, “The Bronchial Tubes” (or “Bronchia”) – which, in-turn, sub-divide into, and terminate in, minute sub-divisions in All the millions of small air spaces with-in The Lungs.
………….It has Been stated that if The Air Cells of The Lungs were spread-out over an un-broken surface, they would cover an area of fourteen-thousand feet.
………….The Air IS drawn-into The Lungs by the action of The Diaphragm – a great, strong flat sheet-like Muscle – stretched-across The Chest – separating The Chest-Box from The Abdomen. The Diaphragm’s action IS al’most as automatic as that of The Heart. Al’though, it may Be trans’fORmed into a Semi-Voluntary Muscle by an effort of The WILL. When it ex’pands, it in’creases the size of The Chest and Lungs, and The Air rushes into the vacuum, thus created. When it re-laxes, The Chest and Lungs con’tract, and The Air IS ex’pelled from The Lungs.
………….Now… Be’fore con’sidering what happens to The Air in The Lungs, let Us look, a little, into the matter of The Circulation of The Blood. The Blood (as You Know) IS driven by The Heart – through The Arteries – into The Capillaries – thus, reaching every part of The Body, which it Vitalizes, Nourishes and Strengthens. It, then, re’turns by-means-of The Capillaries, through another route – The Veins – back to The Heart, from whence it IS drawn to
………….The Blood starts on it’s Arterial journey – bright red and rich – laden with Life-giving qualities and pro’perties. It re’turns by The Venous Route – poor blue and dull – laden-down with the waste matter of The System. It goes out like a fresh stream from the mountains… It re’turns as a stream of sewer Water. This foul stream goes to The Right Auricle of The Heart. When this Auricle Be’comes filled, it con’tracts and fORces the stream of Blood through an opening in The Right Ventricle of The Heart – which, in-turn, sends it on to The Lungs, where it IS dis’tributed by millions of hair-like Blood Vessels to The Air Cells of The Lungs, of-which We have spoken. Now… Let Us take-up the stORy of The Lungs at-this-point.
………….The foul stream of Blood IS now dis’tributed among the millions of tiny Air Cells in The Lungs. A breath of Air IS in’haled and The Oxygen of The Air comes in-contact-with the im’Pure Blood, through the thin walls of the hair-like Blood Vessels of The Lungs. These walls Are thick-enough to hold The Blood, but thin-enough to ad’mit The Oxygen to penetrate them.
………….When The Oxygen comes in-contact-with The Blood, a fORm of combustion takes-place, and The Blood takes-up Oxygen and re’leases Carbonic Acid Gas, generated from the waste pro’ducts and poisonous matter which has Been gathered-up by The Blood from All parts of The System. The Blood, thus Purified and oxygenated, IS carried back to The Heart – again, rich red and bright, and laden with Life-giving pro’perties and qualities.
………….Upon reaching The Left Auricle of The Heart, it IS fORced into The Left Ventricle, from-whence it IS again fORced-out through The Arteries, on it’s mission of Life to All parts of The System. It IS estimated that, in a single day of twenty-four hours, 35,000 pints of Blood traverse The Capillaries of The Lungs – The Blood Corpuscles passing in single-file and Be’ing ex’posed to The Oxygen of The Air on both of their surfaces. When One con’siders the minute de’tails of the pro’cess alluded to, it IS easy to-Be filled with wonder and admiration at Nature’s infinite care and intelligence.
………….It can easily Be seen that un’less fresh Air in sufficient quantities reaches The Lungs, the foul stream of Venous Blood can-not Be Purified. And con’sequently, not-only IS The Body, thus, robbed of nourish-ment, but the waste pro’ducts which should have Been de’stroyed Are re’turned to The System through The Circulatory pro’cess, and thus, further poison The System… And verily, death ensues. Im’Pure Air acts in the same way, only to a lesser-degree. It can also Be seen that if One does not breathe-in a sufficient quantity of Air, the wORk of The Blood can-not go-on pro’perly, and the re’sult IS that The Body IS in’sufficiently nourished. As a re’sult, dis-ease ensues, or a state of im’Per’fect Health IS ex’perienced. The Blood of One Who breathes im’pro’perly IS, of a bluish dark colour – lacking the rich red-ness of Pure Arterial Blood. This IS, often, evident by a poor complexion. Pro’per breathing – and con’sequently – Pro’per Circulation, re’sults-in a clear, bright complexion.
………….A little re’flection shows the Vital im’pORtance of correct breathing. If The Blood IS not-fully Purified by the re-generative pro’cess of The Lungs, it re’turns to The Arteries in an ab’n’ORmal state – in’sufficiently Purified and im’Per’fectly cleansed of the im’Purities which it took-up on it’s re’turn journey. These im’purities, if re’turned to The System shall certainly manifest in some fORm of dis-ease – either in a fORm of Blood dis-ease or some dis-ease re’sulting from im’paired functioning of some in’sufficiently nourished ORgan or Tissue.
………….The Blood, when pro’perly ex’posed to The Air in The Lungs, not-only has it’s im’purities con’sumed, and parts with it’s noxious Carbonic Acid Gas, but it also takes-up and ab’sORbs a certain quantity of Oxygen which it carries to All parts of The Body – where it IS needed in-ORder-that Nature may per’fORm Her pro’cesses pro’perly.
………….When The Oxygen comes-in-contact-with The Blood, it unites with The Hemoglobin of The Blood, and IS carried to every Cell, Tissue, Muscle, and ORgan – which it in’vigorates and strengthens – re’placing the worn-out Cells and Tissue with new materials which Nature con’verts to Her use. Arterial Blood, pro’perly-ex’posed to The Air, con’tains a’bout 25 per cent of Free Oxygen.
………….Not-only IS every Part Vitalized by The Oxygen, but, the act of Di’gestion de’pends, materially, upon a certain amount of Oxygenation of The Food, and this can Be accomplished only by The Oxygen in The Blood, coming-in-contact-with The Food and pro’ducing a certain fORm of Combustion. It IS, there-fore, necessary that a pro’per supply of Oxygen Be taken through The Lungs. This accounts for the fact that weak Lungs and poor Digestion Are so-often found to’gether. To grasp the full significance of this state-ment, One must re’member that The En’tire Body re’ceives nourish-ment from The Food, assimilated – and that im’Per’fect assimilation al’ways means an im’Per’fectly nourished Body. Even The Lungs them’selves de’pend-upon the same source for nourish-ment. And if, through im’Per’fect breathing, the assimilation Be’comes im’Per’fect – and The Lungs, in-turn, Be’come weakened – they Are rendered still-less-able to per’fORm their wORk pro’perly. And so, in-turn, The Body Be’comes further-weakened. Every particle of Food and Drink must Be oxygenated Be’fORe it can yield Us the pro’per nourish-ment, and Be’fORe the waste pro’ducts of The System can Be re’duced to the pro’per con’dition to-Be e’liminated from The System. Lack of sufficient Oxygen means im’Per’fect nutrition, im’Per’fect e’limination, and im’Per’fect Health. Verily… “Breath IS Life”.
………….The combustion a’rising from the change in the waste pro’ducts generates heat and equalizes the temperature of The Body. Those Who breath Pro’perly Are not apt to “take cold”, and They, generally, have plenty of healthy warm Blood which en’ables them to resist the changes in the outer temperature. In-addition to the above-Mentioned im’pORtant pro’cesses, the act of breathing gives exercise to the internal ORgans and Muscles. This feature Be’ing, generally, over-looked by The Western Writers on the sub’ject – but which The Yogis fully appreciate.
………….In im’Per’fect or shallow breathing, only a portion of The Lung Cells Are brought-into-play. And, a great portion of The Lung capacity IS lost; The System suffering in-pro’portion-to the amount of under-oxygenation. The Lower Animals, in Their native state, breathe naturally, and Primitive Man un-doubtedly did the same. The abn’OR’mal manner of Living, a’dopted by “civilized” Man – the shadow that falls-upon “civilization” – has robbed us of Our natural habit of breathing, and The Race has greatly suffered there-by. Man’s only physical SAL-vation IS to “Get Back To Nature”.