The Benefits of Breathing

The tendency of work, of almost all kinds, is to pull the shoulders forward, curve the spine, and flatten the chest; and if the chest is greatly flattened, full and deep breathing becomes impossible, and perfect health is out of the question.

Various gymnastic exercises have been devised to counteract the effect of stooping while at work; such as hanging by the hands from a swing or trapeze bar, or sitting on a chair with thefeet under some heavy article of furniture and bending backward until the head touches the floor, and so on. All these are good enough in their way, but very few people will follow them long enough and regularly enough to accomplish any real gain in physique. The taking of “health exercises” of any kind is burdensome and unnecessary; there is a more natural, simpler, and much better way.

This better way is to keep yourself straight, and to breathe deeply. Let your mental conception of yourself be that you are a perfectly straight person, and whenever the matter comes to your mind, be sure that you instantly expand your chest, throw back your shoulders, and “straighten up.” Whenever you do this, slowly draw in your breath until you fill your lungs to their utmost capacity; “crowd in” all the air you possibly can; and while holding it for an instant in the lungs, throw your shoulders still further back, and¬†stretch your chest; at the same time try to pull your spine forward between the shoulders. Then let the air go easily.