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To Your Health

Breathing For Life Part III

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03/01/2012 - Howdy! Welcome back for the third and, yes, final installment about increasing your breathing ability. I hope some of you took the challenge of working on the first four exercises given. I'm sure some of you were like me and even though we thought we had a healthy lung capacity, these exercises resulted in gasping and wheezing. So let's wrap this up. If some of you are new to this magazine or had not read the previous two editions, we are discussing and training to increase our lung efficiency, stamina, and work off some calories without getting out of a chair and this can also help us deal with the effects of stress.

In review, remember that we had discussed the first four of the six exercises: #1 The Cleansing Breath, #2 The Slow, Deep Breath, #3 The Seven-Second Breath, #4 The Exhalation Breath.

Continuing, we will now discuss exercise #5 The inhalation Breath

The inhalation breath (exercise 5) should only be learned after have successfully mastered and practiced the exhalation breath series of exercises 1,3,and 4. In William Knowles book , he recommends this inhalation exercise in the fourth week of the program. It will take will and endurance, so please build up to it. (Cowboy Up!).

Start with exercises 1 and 4. Remember good posture. Breath deeply, expanding the lungs. Then exhale with short puffs (like exercise 1), continuing until you have expelled a little more, and a little more, and a little more. Whistle the last breath out and hold it to the count of 10. Then gently inhale a full breath and hold at the end for 15 seconds. Inhale once more and hold for 20 seconds. Eventually work your way into a few reps.

This exercise builds endurance as well as your will power over your body. However, do not force it. Remember that it is a week four exercise and is not for somebody to jump into and do right away.

Note: A benefit to all these exercises is the working of the diaphragm. It sits on top of the digestive organs. Mr. Knowles realized it aids in the digestion. I'm not sure on the physiology of this, but it is plausible.

6. The Holding- in Breath

This is an exercise that increases your breathing capacity and endurance. Start with the cleansing breath ( Ex 1) and then follow it with the seven-second breath (Ex 2). After that, breathe in for 15 seconds and hold for 20 seconds. Exhale slowly, then inhale for 15 seconds and hold your breath for 25 seconds. Inhale for 15 seconds again, and then hold your breath for 30 seconds.

This is a week five exercise so you may need to build up to it day by day in order to successfully complete the whole exercise. As your breathing capacity improves, you may consider extending the time of holding your breath to beyond the 30 seconds.

Summary: The Five Week Program

This is a Five Week Program although it may take some of you a lot longer to work your way through the exercises due to age and other health issues, so be patient and work up to it. The five week program (summarized in the chart below) was designed by Bill Knowles and is found on page 112 of his book.



First week Cleansing(1) and Slow, Deep (2)

Second week Cleansing (1): Slow, Deep (2),

And Seven-second(3)

Third week Cleansing (1), Seven second(3),

And Exhalation (4)

Fourth Cleansing (1), Seven-second (3),

And Inhalation (5)

Fifth week Cleansing (1), Seven-second (3),

And Holding-in (6)

No time, you say. Well try this one: "Breathe through your toes not your nose". This sounds stupid but it helps and I would recommend this to anyone who is stressed and is in a time crunch. I don't think it is as effective as the five week program, but it is a beneficial exercise to utilize at times. When you imagine the air coming in through your toes and not your nose, picture the lower portion of the lungs filling first. Remember we need to fill the lower portion of the lungs first. Correct breathing fills the whole lungs -- top and bottom. When you breathe out, if you imagine pushing the air back out through your toes, it will help you fully exhale.

These exercises that Bill Knowles developed, if done faithfully, will strengthen and condition your respiratory system. Consistent, correct breathing will also increase the quality of health in your body.

I would like to thank Dr. Dale Sides for passing this information to me and allowing me to retype it for you folks, and of course, William Knowles whose exercises have helped many individuals. Well, I'm over my space again. See ya next month!

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