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Source: Papers On Health
The capacity of an ordinary pair of
lungs is about 250 cubic inches. In ordinary breathing, however, we
only take in from 20 to 30 cubic inches. Hence the necessity for
practising correct deep breathing.
Correct breathing requires cultivation and effort at first, afterwards
it will become unconscious. The head should be thrown back, the
shoulders squared, and a slow deep breath gradually inspired through
the nose till the lungs are filled throughout with air. The expiration
should be just as gradual with relaxation of every muscle. It is most
important that the lower part of the chest should first be filled by
depressing the diaphragm (the muscular floor of the lungs). Some
practise is needed before this habit is acquired, but it is well worth
cultivating. Place the hands on the sides of the abdomen while
inspiring, to feel that this is expanding. Teachers of singing insist
on diaphragmatic breathing, which is also of great benefit to the
stomach, liver, and other organs. By the movement it gives to the
intestines their action is also assisted, and constipation is
This deep breathing may be practised several times each day (say ten
breaths at a time) till the habit of correct breathing is acquired. It
will be found to have a wonderfully soothing and calming effect (see
Worry). Such exercise should always be taken in the open-air, or in a
room with a widely open window. A good plan is to take them in bed
before rising, with little or no clothes on, while lying flat on the
Paleness, langour, irritability, and general ill-health result from
insufficient breathing. Furthermore, the system becomes unable to
resist disease. We know no aid to beauty more effective than the
practice of deep breathing.
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