• By Swami Sivananda
  • March 2002

Health and Deep breathing     

Deep breathing exercises are intended especially to develop greater lung capacity and to assist in forming the habit of breathing deeply and properly at all times.

The respiratory organs are developed nicely through deep breathing. It puts in extra oxygen into the blood and, therefore, secures richer tonic for the blood. This means an offer of richer materials to the tissues to consume.

The whole work of metabolism ultimately depends upon the oxygen you breathe into the lungs. The more deeply and properly you breathe, the better is the oxygen supply, the better is the body able to carry on its work and the better is your health, as a direct consequence.

Deep breathing brings into the lungs a greater volume of air that is required to dilute the carbon dioxide produced in the body during the time.

If you want to develop the biceps muscle, it has to be exercised. Even so, if the respiratory organs have to develop, they have to be exercised. Deep breathing is one of the most useful and convenient exercises for the respiratory organs.

Deep Breathing Exercise

Sit on any comfortable pose. Draw in all the breath you can through the nose. Allow the expansion to commence in the abdomen and then gradually ascend to the chest. After you have drawn all the breath, you can hold it for ten seconds. Gradually increase the period of retention to one, two or three minutes. Then exhale very, very slowly. When you retain the breath, repeat OM mentally with Bhav and meaning. Inhale the breath as comfortably as you can; retain it as comfortably as you can. Repeat this 10 or 20 times.


The above deep breathing can also be practiced in the lying posture in bed.


Stand erect. Put the hands on the hips. Inhale slowly and deeply. Take a full, complete breath. Raise the shoulders as high as possible. Then drop the shoulders as low as possible. Exhale slowly. Repeat this 10 or 20 times according to your strength and capacity.

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