Fundamentals of Breathing

Last updated on January 29, 2023

Transform your life with the power of healthy breathing


In this book, my intention is to share with you some of the profound benefits of integrating a breathing practice into your everyday life.

This book should give you a pretty broad understanding of how the breath and the respiratory system functions. 

But the primary focus of this book is to show you how adding a few simple, and quick breathing techniques to your daily life can radically enhance every single aspect of your life.

This book is my gift to you, my fellow Sapien, enjoy!

As you will soon discover, the breath is the “gateway” to a profound and indescribably beautiful life. 

It has a direct link between our energy levels, the quality of our life, and our overall mood and emotional well-being.

The breath even has the power and potential to radically transform our outlook on life.

The most intriguing part is how you and I have complete control over this amazing resource!

I hope you are ready to embark on this exciting journey and welcome in a breath of fresh air

Breath equals life. 

Anyone who has ever jumped out of an airplane, or dove too deep under the water and was forced to rush to the surface has experienced firsthand just how important the breath is.  

From the moment that we are born and make our way into the world, we take our first breath. It’s the first function of human life.

And at the end of our life cycle, we exhale and breathe out our last breath.

The quality of our life is a direct reflection of the quality of how we breathe throughout our entire lifespan.

Most people simply take the act of breathing for granted.

From a very young age, we all start off with full, deep, and healthy breathing habits. 

Have you ever watched a baby breathe? These beautiful creatures breathe deep into the diaphragm where the belly naturally inflates and expands like a balloon, the rib cage also expands to accommodate the intake of fresh oxygen passing into the lungs. 

On a typical 24 hour day the average person does around 25,000 to 30,000  full breathing cycles.

The entire torso and solar plexus should be fully engaged.

As most of us begin to age and begin to mature into adulthood our breathing patterns also change from easy and natural, over to short, shallow, constrained, and restricted.

This is usually the result of our emotional state, the amount of stress in our immediate and surrounding environments, and the modern way of life which has slowly removed mankind from a natural state of being. 

Even how much pressure we put on ourselves in the form of self-made stress, worry and anxiety also add to these abnormal breathing habits that stress the entire body and starve it of this vital nourishment.

Breathing is the most important function. We can live for days without food and water but death is imminent within minutes without a fresh supply of oxygen.

Many people live their entire lives without ever paying attention to the quality of their breath or realize the intrinsic power and potential that’s contained inside the breath.

From the most basic to the most complex of human functions, the human body along with every single creature depends on the breath. 

Now let’s explore the inner workings and basic anatomy of the lungs.

First, oxygen comes in through the nose and passes through the trachea also known as the (windpipe).

From here it enters the lungs through a series of tubular branches called the bronchi. 

These bronchial tubes eventually scale down and connect with much smaller branches (bronchioles). 

These bronchioles lead to even smaller, more microscopic bronchioles that are essentially grouped together into small clustered air sacs called (alveoli).

The alveoli are the end of the respiratory tree.

A fair estimate is that the lungs contain several million of these microscopic air sacs.

The entire contents of the lungs including all the tubes and pathways are soft, moist, spongy, porous, and very elastic in nature.

So, as you breathe in, oxygen passes through all these pathways that lead to the microscopic air sacs. The deeper you breathe the deeper you access these distant caverns and chambers. 

When your breath is shallow, these smaller air sac and bronchioles are unkissed by the gift of oxygen.

Once the oxygen from the air finally reaches these extremely tiny air sacs, also known as (alveoli) by way of inhalation, it gets diffused and converted into gas and mixed in with the blood which then enters the heart.

From there the blood begins to enter the arteries and is then pumped by the beat of the heart and gets transported through the entire circulatory system to touch every single cell in the body.

Next, we will go on a micro exploration as we follow the blood on the path once it leaves the heart. We will see how oxygen fuels this process and even nourishes and cleans the blood.

The journey from the heart

In the beginning, when the blood first leaves the heart it’s crystal clear and pristine, and fully alive and highly oxygenated from the collaboration of the heart and the lungs.

From the moment fresh blood leaves the heart, it begins touching every single cell, tissue, muscle, and organ. 

It flows through the entire body via the bloodstream. The body utilizes the blood and processes it in a highly sophisticated and efficient way.

As a result, it produces biochemical energy, like millions of mini-explosions constantly taking place in the body. 

This is similar to the way cylinders in a car engine fire and power the engine.

Through this amazing process, the cells release and give off carbon dioxide which is a waste product of biochemical energy explosion. 

Also, during deep states of meditation when the mind is calm and still the meditator can literally feel this cellular combustion in the form of extremely subtle sensations all over the body, the key to this is by developing a quiet, concentrated, and very sharp focused mind that’s unwithered by distraction.

Back to the energetic explosion in the cell, once this happens, this carbon dioxide waste matter is mixed in with the blood and travels through the veins where it eventually meets back up with the alveoli. 

It then moves into the alveoli and gets absorbed into all the blood vessels in the lungs.

When the blood enters the lungs it absorbs fresh, brand new oxygen that is mixed with the hemoglobin of the blood that gets inhaled from the lungs while simultaneously releasing carbonic acid gas that was generated from the waste of every single cell inside the body.

This waste matter is released and expelled through the lungs via a gas like exhalation.

The point of purification actually happens when the blood comes in contact with the fresh oxygen, it’s refined and has a clean sparkle to it where it’s hot and ready for the heart.

This whole process is the great phenomenon of cellular respiration and it happens with every single breath that we take in.

That’s why the quality, depth, and pureness of the air and oxygen that we take into our lungs are of vital importance here.

Many people who spend long hours inside controlled environments like at home or work with little or no access to fresh air are much more prone to getting sick and contracting air respiratory infections. 

Every inhalation and exhalation is like total detoxification of the entire body.

People who smoke or are exposed to dirty and unhealthy environments inhibit this natural response which the body usually responds with pain in the chest and inflammation in the lungs.

The lungs are a very delicate, living, breathing, biological sponge that absorbs any and everything that comes into contact with them.

This entire process is beyond spectacular because of the sheer size of the circulatory system.

The approximate length is roughly around 60,000 miles long. If you were to stretch it out, it would wrap around the earth two in a half times.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, I not sure what will!  

The human body is beyond magnificent and everyone is granted access to this amazing vessel.

Each of the 30 trillion-plus cells that the human body is composed of depends on the process of cellular respiration in order to survive.

Next, we will investigate the inner workings of the human cell and discover why oxygen is so vital to the performance and vitality of each cell.

The Miracle of the cell

Every cell is a “micro-community” that all simultaneously work together with the other cell communities in the body to create balance, unity, and complete harmony in the human body organism.

Picture Of A  Cell

By increasing the amount of breath along with the pureness of each breath, you will increase the overall quality of your entire life and wellbeing and the state of every cell and organ in the body.

On the contrary, if you don’t breathe fully and deeply the body does not clean and purify the body which then deprives it of necessary nourishment. 

This further stresses the body and the community of cells and will slowly lead to illness and decay.

It’s also important to understand the amount of oxygen that’s present in our blood and bodies has a direct effect on the digestion and assimilation of the food that we eat.

Short breaths, equals a short life, while longer breaths result in a long happy life.

I would like to make that statement crystal clear. 

It’s hard not to notice and feel the stimulating effects that full, deep diaphragmatic breathing habits impart on the entire ecology of the body. 

When you begin to breathe

As time goes on, you start to feel like your whole body and being is starting to awaken from within and you will begin to take on a totally new shade of vibrancy throughout your entire body and life! 

At first, it’s very subtle differences like tingly sensations here,  and little bursts of energy there, but as time goes on these simple breathing patterns will purify the body, rectify and supercharge the mind and mental cognition. 

This will allow you to access amazing amounts of energy and ride the “wave of life”. 

You will require much less sleep without the dependence on espresso (although I still drink it anyway 🙂

“When you master the breath, you master the mind and the body”

The spark of life

I believe it’s important to understand some basic anatomy of the body and how it functions on a biological level if anything to grant the seer a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness and inner workings of the body.

But there’s another aspect that goes a little bit deeper than the process of respiration and the power of the beating heart. 

How do the lungs breathe in the first?  Or, how does the heartbeat repeatedly, over and over?  And, how does the entire body operate and function?  It’s more than just the brain and the central nervous system instructing it to do so.

True, the body is a bioelectric organism that is charged with very subtle electrical frequencies that act as a battery to charge the heart and central nervous system.

But, where do these subtle electrical currents of energy originate and come from?

It’s this spark of life, which is also called prana, life force energy, Qi or vital energy depending on the tradition that it came from.

This same invisible energetic current that activates the body also gives life to the trees, the flow of water in a river, and even the movement of wind through the trees. 

It’s found in every atom and bacteria, all the way throughout the entire solar system. This life force is present and inside everything and everywhere at the same time. 

“It’s like an all-pervading cosmic energy “

Some of the earliest written texts in human history like the Upanishads explore the realms of this very topic.

It’s the spirit of existence itself.

It has many different descriptions yet at the same time can barely be grasped by the analytical mind.

Prana is governed between three different regions, The hypothalamus is the link to the main central nervous system that contains the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system. 

At the center of the sympathetic nervous system is the celiac plexus, more commonly called (solar plexus). 

It’s a very complex network of nerve fibers that fan outward and is located around the epigastric region of the body which is located at the base of the stomach on both sides of the spinal column. 

It contains both white and gray matter, this area is the main central storing house of life force energy.

This life force energy moves throughout the body in many different energetic pathways known as nadis in the Yoga tradition and Qi Energy Meridians in Traditional Chinese medicine.  

These pathways course alongside every vein, tendon, muscle, and many other multi-dimensional ways inside the body.

For the sake of simplicity, all one really needs to know is that this energy covers every square inch of the body, from the surface of the skin all the way to the core of your being.

These energy pathways are prone to becoming blocked and stagnant which prevents this energy from moving freely throughout the body which can result in physical, mental, and emotional imbalances.

With a healthy breathing habit, along with quality physical movement, a nutritious diet, a healthy environment, and access to clean pure water, you can keep these pathways open, unblocked, and freely flowing.

As time goes on and with an ardent commitment to a daily breathing practice, every breath that we take in can thoroughly cleanse and give nourishment to the entire body. 

Each breath is an opportunity to tap into and experience this amazing gift of energetic expression that lays dormant within you.

The first step is to set the intention and to start to cultivate and refine the breath by setting up and establishing a breathing routine. 

You will see that the entire process is easy, natural, fun, and extremely rewarding. 

But before we dive in,  let’s first investigate the importance of breathing through the nostrils (during your breathing practice) versus the mouth.

Breathing through the nostrils

or almost all breathing exercises (and even everyday breathing throughout the day), it’s recommended to breathe solely in and out of the nose and not the mouth, there are several reasons and advantages to why below are just a couple reasons:

  • The nasal passages naturally clean and filter dust and environmental pollutants that flow in with the oxygen (that’s another reason there’s hair in each nostril).
  • It’s more calming to the nervous system
  • And according to ancient sages breathing through the nose has a stimulating effect on the life force energy in the body.
  • Nostril breathing naturally warms the air and prevents cold air from coming into contact with the internal organs like when breathing in through the mouth.

It’s important to note that when you breathe through the mouth the oxygen in the air (and anything else for that matter) goes straight into the lungs without being filtered like when the air flows through the narrow chain of nasal passageways. 

So, by breathing through the nostrils you will protect and safeguard the body better and you won’t get sick as easily.

That’s one of the primary functions of the mucous membrane inside the nose. 

This moist sticky environment naturally attracts airborne pollutants and acts as a natural filter.

Also, daily use of a neti pot helps to clear out all the dust and debris.

Neti Pot

The complete breath

The complete breath is the first and primary breathing practice that an aspiring practitioner should start with. This sets the stage and establishes a solid foundation for healthy breathing patterns and habits and is the best prerequisite leading to more advanced breathing techniques.

The Complete Breath helps to establish and retrain the body to regain its natural state of healthy breathing that it was born with. 

With a little practice and patience, the body will develop muscle memory and become a natural part of your life.

And with this new way of breathing, the body will gain access to a faint, nostalgic remembrance of what this natural breathing used to be and feel like when it was more youthful.

But before we proceed into the actual practice, I wanna outline some of the basic benefits that you will reap from this simple yet profound breathing practice.

The Powerful And Healing Benefits 

1.  Daily practice of the Complete Breath will make the practitioner virtually immune to the common cold and flu because when you fully exercise use the entire respiratory system you tone and flex all the contents of the lungs hence making them much stronger, more elastic, and pliable. 

2. When you exercise the body, you naturally feel good all over. Anyone who is familiar with riding a bike or doing a brisk jog can easily attest to how much better they feel and how much better air freely flows in and out of the lungs. It’s just like anything else, the more you use it, the better it becomes and if you don’t use it, you will easily lose it.

3. When certain parts of the lungs are left untouched through shallow breathing habits, they essentially start to become dormant, inactive, slightly withered, and frail.

4. An amazing physical benefit to the practice that everyone can appreciate is the increased strength and robustness of the torso, midsection, and entire chest cavity. This is because all the abdominal muscles start to become more toned and refined every time your practice healthy breathing.

5. Through the gift of muscle memory, the body will again become accustomed to this way of breathing and will start to do this on its own without you directing or interfering with it.

6. The Complete Breath purifies the blood harvests oxygen from the atmosphere which gives the blood vital nourishment to the entire body and all the organs, glands, the brain along with every single cell. 

7. When you breathe in a healthy way, you increase the oxygen in the entire body, and in effect, you also grant better health to the rest of the body.

8. Hands down, a few minutes of healthy breathing naturally purifies and detoxifies the body albeit a lot better than many of the fancy supplements out there.

9. And, when you increase the oxygen intake through the lungs that then flows throughout the body, you also improve digestion, assimilation, and elimination. The nutrition from the food that gets assimilated into the digestive system relies on oxygen to break down food on a molecular level. 

Your digestive tract is made up of millions of cells that all depend on oxygen to function properly. Muscles that are located in the small and large intestines rely on the presence of oxygen to also function properly.

Even more interesting though is how oxygen is what fuels the amazing process of osmosis that occurs in the digestive tract. This is the key player in nutrient absorption.

Once the food is broken down inside the digestive tract from various chemical processes, what’s left is the most vital part, the essential nutrients that the body needs to survive.

The process of osmosis is what generously allows the body to absorb these necessary nutrients via the small and large intestines that lead to each individual cell. Most osmosis happens in the small intestine.

The actual nutrients get absorbed in through the (microvilli) in the small intestine and the (villi) that line the intestinal wall.

Once the key nutrients have entered the bloodstream they make their into each cell by diffusion across each cell membrane and into the microscopic pores of each cell.

This whole process, along with every other biological process in the human body directly relies on clean blood that’s lifted from the lungs and cellular respiration.

Let’s Breathe

The complete breath can be a bit much for some people to handle (at the beginning anyway), because they are not used to so much oxygen flooding into the body. 

As a result, some people get a little dizzy and lightheaded. For this reason, it’s good to slowly work your way up to the complete breath.

So, ease into the practice and take your time.  It’s good to first start off laying down on your back.

Then, in a few days or maybe a couple of weeks once you get a little more comfortable with this way of breathing, and it’s recommended to do these exercises sitting or standing.

The Foundation

Lying Down

If you’re just starting out laying on the back place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. 

This is so can actually feel the breath inflating the body and so that you can observe if you’re doing it correctly.

It’s also beneficial to elevate your knees up from the floor, this allows the back to remain flattered on the ground. 

Sitting Tall

Now if ready to begin the practice breathing, it’s essential to always try and maintain a relatively straight spine (no slouching)

This will allow the body to be in the best state of alignment and ready to receive oxygen in the most efficient way possible. 

It’s also beneficial to insert a wedge or a small pillow to elevate the but just a little. This will shift the body forward and raise the hips and remove pressure from the back.

Sitting this way also disciplines the body and trains it to stop slouching which is extremely important. 

Slouching for years like this.


Will lead to this…

But, whatever you do, try not to get to the extreme like this…

Below is a wonderful example of a good posture. The whole family clearly practices good postural habits all day long. Slouching isn’t even in their vocabulary. We can learn a lot from these upstanding citizens of nature…

You will find that after sitting tall and upright day after day that slouching and allowing the body to disappear into the couch is actually what’s really uncomfortable.

So, sitting upright is best for the structural alignment of the anatomy and your body will thank you many years down the road

You can also sit in a chair or in a kneeling position if this is more comfortable!

You can also just sit back and totally relax and forget about the whole posture thing altogether. The most important element is to commit and just breathe.

Note: In the beginning, the back may start to ache and hurt a little bit, this is totally natural and happens to everyone in the beginning especially people who sit cross-legged for extended periods of time during meditation.

What happens is the muscles in the back are working to keep and maintain the back and body in an upright position. 

After a few days, the muscles in the back will get stronger and they will not hurt anymore, I assure you.

So, along with a strong, straight spine, also strive to maintain a slight arch in the lower back

Now, make sure your entire posture is balanced and you don’t feel too top-heavy by distributing your weight evenly between your sits bones and the rest of your legs. Create a solid triangle. 

Build a strong foundation so the body is comfortable.

Now, allow the shoulder blades to fully relax and allow them to gently melt down the back and fuse with the rest of the body.

Keep the chin slightly tucked like a turtle retreating. 

Imagine a string attached to the top of your head (crown), gently pulling you up to the sky, this subtle awareness relieves unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae and spine and creates more space and openness throughout the body.

Now relax the entire body including the facial muscles.

Once you’re in a good position do a brief scan of the entire body and observe any stress or tension that’s present in the body.

If you find any tension whatsoever, try and relax that part of the body.

Once the body is relaxed and comfortable then shift your focus to the breath and get ready to breathe.

As you inhale through the nostrils count to 4.

Allow the belly to inflate like a balloon. You should feel a slight sensation down near the pelvis and near the lower back as the abdomen expands with air.

Allow that same expansion to rise upward towards the lower lungs and upper lungs. You will gently feel the upper part of the lungs press up against the bottom of the neck and shoulders.

Simultaneously, as the air is flowing upward, completely filling the lungs, relax the belly just a bit and slightly engage the abdominal muscles and diaphragm, this helps guide the breath deeper into the lungs.

Then pause for the count of 1.

Be sure not to ever strain.

Then slowly exhale for a count of 4.

Allow all the muscles around the belly to begin to relax as the air moves outward.

Towards the end of the exhalation, slightly engage the abdominal muscles a bit in order to draw the belly closer to the core and into the back. This will aid in expelling all the air out into the open and will expel any stagnant, spent stale oxygen.

And when all the air is out, pause for 1 second.

You may feel tingly sensations or very subtle amber waves of energy moving throughout certain parts of the body or an 

With time, try to increase your way up from 1 to 4 on the in pause and out pause.

So, in count 4, pause (retain) count 4, exhale count 4, pause (hold out count 4. If it’s more comfortable only pause for 1 to 2 seconds.

Note: to (retain) means to hold the breath inside the lungs for a specific period of time, also called (breath retention).

Now, it’s not imperative to reach a 4 count.

The pause naturally allows you to drop into the body, in the here and now, and you will be able to feel and sense the subtlest vibrations while experiencing a deeply profound sense of peace. 

With time, you will start to yearn for this stillness because your mind can only be present because of the state of breath. It’s a sweet nothingness.

This stillness is your key to a stress-free and harmonious day no matter what situation may arise.

Breath retention gives strength and vitality to all the respiratory muscles. It penetrates deep inside to the far reaches of the lungs.

It will invigorate the whole body.

Even more profound is how it washes and purifies any and all stagnant oxygen and cellular combustion and replenishes it with fresh, vibrant, life-giving oxygen that’s infused with life force energy.

You can do as many of these cycles as possible however it’s best to aim for either 3, 6, 9, 18, or 36 full rounds of the Complete Breath.

As you become more familiar with the whole process, you will discover that even 1 complete cycle can induce very powerful and rejuvenating effects.

Remember, it makes no difference where your at in your day. Anytime and the place is just perfect to practice the Complete Breath.

About Breath Retention

The Complete Breath directs you to retain (hold) the breath inside the body. What makes this part of the complete breath so powerful is what it does with the breath.

When the breath is retained in the lungs it allows the breath to penetrate into the deepest part of the lungs resulting in radical absorption of fresh oxygen into the body plus,  the most efficient extraction of carbon dioxide out of the lungs.

This results in total body purification.

To Breathe or Not to Breathe

As you start to become more familiar with this type of breathing (usually within a couple of weeks), you will discover that it becomes like second nature, after the first couple rounds you won’t even have to think about it.

The more present you become, the more your entire body and mind unite and harmonize together.

At this point, you no longer need to guide the respiration because the body will start to  ” breathe itself “. 

You begin to feel every single pore on the surface of the body expand as you breathe in. You can feel as if every pore is respirating and the body is breathing itself.

Then the entire experience becomes a complete absorption into sensation and feeling.

For a time, your sense of self is totally diminished and you almost feel like your internal body is merging with the external environment. 

There is no more separation and all is one.

The breath is you before it enters the body.

Breath And Movement

The breath can be a powerful addition to the way the body is moved. 

When done with intention and awareness it can be the bridge that turns a simple movement into a totally meditative, and sometimes blissful experience.

The breath helps to anchor you in the present moment and acts as a guide for the movement itself.

When you follow the breath, you intuitively recognize when you at your edge and your about to go too far and potentially hurt yourself.

As you inhale the body opens and expands, increases and grows, and then on the exhale the body retreats and contracts and folds inward.

It’s a dance of in and out, expansion and contraction, effort and ease, balance, and total body integration.

Even more, the breath links one movement to the next, it fuses and synchronizes the whole practice into a dynamic symphony.

The breath can be a powerful addition to the way the body is moved. 

When done with intention and awareness it can be the bridge that turns a simple movement into a totally meditative, and many times blissful experience.

The breath anchors you in the present moment and acts as a guide for the movement itself.

When you follow the breath, you intuitively recognize when you’re approaching the edge ans about to go too far and potentially hurt yourself.

As you inhale, the body opens and expands, it increases and grows, and then on the exhale the body retreats and contracts and folds inward.

It’s a dance of in and out, expansion and contraction, effort and ease, balance, and total body integration.

Even more, the breath links one movement to the next, it fuses and synchronizes the whole experience into a dynamic, integrative expression of human potential.

In good health.

Love Dale