Excerpt from "Complete Breathing" by Rich
Before we can improve our breathing we must
remember that the process existed long before we did - we have nothing
to teach it. What we have to do is to prepare ourselves to receive its
revitalizing strength by removing any obstacles that might hinder its
Proper breathing depends on our eliminating
tension, correcting bad habits, wrong mental and physical attitudes;
the moment we get rid of these obstacles it will come into its own and
bring us vitality and good health.
The corsets of 1900 are no longer in
fashion, but there is still more than one item of clothing which
prevents us from normal breathing - leather belts for men, girdles and
bras for women. These must be as flexible as possible if they are not
to hinder respiration. But the physical obstacles are even more
daunting: the hard tense stomach which encumbers every breath,
imprisoning the personality; the rib-cage as inflexible as a
breast-plate; the diaphragm immobilized by the wind - itself caused by
spasms - which has accumulated in the alimentary canal.
The first step is to relax all these
muscles, which when permanently tense are designed more successfully
than any corset to prevent normal breathing; and this is why relaxation
is the open door to yoga.