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Yoga Breathing Exercises



Your body needs a reasonable supply of water and air. Water is used by nature in different ways. Form the habit of drinking pure water from 5 to 8 tumblers a day. Drink slowly and form a mental image of Prana-absorption from the water.

The yoga student needs fresh air too in plenty. If your heart and lungs are in sound condition they will draw in air naturally and extract oxygen in proper quantities. If not, perform the following exercises carefully one by one in the open air every day. They are quite reliable.


(1) Inhale a complete breath. (2) Retain the air a few seconds. (3) Pucker up the lips as if for a whistle (but do not swell out the cheeks) then exhale a little air through the opening with considerable vigor. Then stop for a moment retaining the air and then exhale a little more air. Repeat until the air is completely exhaled. Remember that considerable vigor is to be used in exhaling air through the opening in the lips. This breath will be found quite refreshing when one is tired and generally “used up.” A trial will convince the student of its merits.

This exercise should be practiced until it can be performed naturally and easily, as it is used to finish up a number of other exercises given in this book and it should be thoroughly understood.


(1) Stand erect.

(2) Inhale a complete breath and retain same.

(3) Extend the arms straight in front of you, letting them somewhat limp and relaxed, with only sufficient nerve force to hold them out.

(4) Slowly draw the hands back towards the shoulders gradually, contracting the muscles and putting force into them, so that when they reach the shoulders the fists will be so tightly clenched that a tremulous motion is felt.

(5) Then keeping the muscles tense push the fists slowly out and then draw them back rapidly (still tense) several times.

(6) Exhale vigorously through the mouth.

(7) Practise the cleansing breath.

(8) The efficiency of this exercise depends greatly upon the speed of the drawing back of the fists, and the tension of the muscles, and, of course upon the full lungs. This exercise must be tried to be appreciated. It is without equal as a “bracer” as our western friends put it.


(1) Inhale a complete breath very slowly, but steadily, through the nostrils, taking as much time as possible in the inhalation. (2) Retain for a few seconds. (3) Expel the air vigorously in one great breath, through the wide-opened mouth. (4) Rest the lungs by the cleansing breath. This would give you a good, rolling voice.


(1) Stand erect.

(2) Inhale a complete breath.

(3) Retain the breath as long as you can comfortably.

(4) Exhale vigorously through the open mouth.

(5) Practise the cleansing breath. At first you will be able to retain the breath only a short time, but a little practice will also show a great improvement. Time yourself with a watch, if you wish to note your progress.

(1) Stand erect with hands in sides. (2) Breathe in very slowly and gradually. (3) While inhaling, gently tap the chest with the fingertips, constantly changing position. (4) When the lungs are filled, retain the breath and the chest with the palms of the hands. (5) Practice the cleansing breath.


(1) Stand erect.

(2) Place the hands one on each side of the body as high up in the armpits as convenient, the thumbs reaching towards the back, the palms on the side of the chest and the fingers to the front over the breast.

(3) Inhale a complete breath.

(4) Retain the air for a short time.

(5) Then gently squeeze the sides at the same time slowly exhaling.

(6) Practise the cleansing breath.


(1) Stand erect.

(2) Inhale a complete breath.

(3) Retain the air.

(4) Extend both arms forward and bring the two clenched fists together on a level with the shoulder.

(5) Then swing back the fists vigorously until the arms stand out straight side-ways from the shoulders.

(6) Then bring back to position (4) and swing to position (5). Repeat several times.

(7) Exhale vigorously through the open mouth. (8) Practise the cleansing breath.

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