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Jack Schwarz – breathing exercises


Jack Schwarz’s book “Voluntary Controls” gives some fantastic and alternative insights into the power of the mind as well as exercises on how to develop this power.

Here is some specific info on breathing.

Jack Schwarz’s book – Voluntary Controls

Who is Jack Schwarz? – Focus on Possbilities

Proper breathing will help to assure your spiritual devel­opment. You will have at your disposal your full intuitive and energetic capacities, and your body will be fully expressing this undiluted, unadulterated mental energy. Among the re­search projects in which I have participated, some concen­trated on the self-regulation of physiological processes through controlled breathing. We found that the respiratory rate has a tremendous influence on states of consciousness. As the sub­ject of these experiments, I had electrodes attached to my body to monitor changes in the electric patterns in my brain and in muscle tension and activity. We attempted to find out if cer­tain brain wave patterns correlated with specific breathing patterns. We noted whether the breaths were long or short and when most of the air was drawn into the upper lungs (thoracic breathing) or deep into the lower lungs (abdominal breathing). The results showed that when my brain waves were in the alpha state (usually experienced as a calm, relaxed state of mind), thoracic breathing was equal to abdominal breathing, both rather slow and steady. In the theta state (subjectively experi­enced as a deep, still, nonattached condition with some hypnogogic images), the upper lungs were filling with air only as a side effect of the action of abdominal breathing. Oddly enough, my diaphragm was exhibiting rapid rhythmic pat­terns of movement at this time. When instructing my classes in different breathing techniques, I have found that altering breathing patterns is very effective in creating alterations in consciousness. This is a voluntary method of amplifying in­ternal awareness as well as relaxing the body.

When we are not concentrating on our breathing, most of us are doing clavicular breathing. Movement is in the upper chest, in the region of the thorax where the clavicles are. This shallow type of breathing is very inadequate because it does not really fulfill our oxygen needs. The body cannot relax if it is constantly craving oxygen. In the meditative state, the energy level of the brain is not necessarily reduced, so oxygen is in as much demand as ever.

If we expand the area involved in breathing, deepen and broaden our intake using our nonexistent wings, this is inter­costal breathing. If we use the middle portion of the rib cage, the lungs can fill themselves a bit more fully. Both shallow and intercostal breathing, however, are characteristic of the beta brain wave state. Beta waves indicate a lack of concentrated energy; there is too much tension being produced by this limited breathing to receive and disperse the amount of oxygen inhaled.

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A more satisfactory pattern is dual breathing, which in­volves both the thorax and the diaphragm. By bringing the abdomen into play, we give the diaphragm more space to move downward during inhalation, allowing the lungs to fill themselves more fully. This begins to achieve our main ob­jective, which is to make full use of all our capacities—physi­cal, mental, and spiritual. When our lungs are thoroughly filled by each breath, even the most sensitive parts of our or­ganism will receive prompt delivery of the energy they require in order to operate at their greatest potential.

The breathing pattern that is most suitable for meditation is paradoxical breathing, which is mostly abdominal and slightly thoracic. When an individual breathing in this pat­tern is monitored for brain waves and muscle activity in the chest and abdomen, these two indicators become synchronized. The energy patterns relayed to the monitoring machines (the electroencephalograph and the electrocardiograph) by the electrodes on the head and body are aligned, harmonized. This type of breathing may be contrary to the way you think you should go about consciously increasing your intake. It is not enough to expand your chest, to fill the lungs fully. The diaphragm has to be allowed to expand fully as well, and this can only be done by expanding the abdomen to make room for the expanded diaphragm.

To begin paradoxical breathing, inhale deeply, and volun­tarily pull in your abdomen. When you exhale, push it out again. This movement is contrary to normal abdominal breath­ing, during which the abdomen appears to expand as the lower lungs fill with air. It takes conscious effort to reverse this nor­mal pattern and breathe paradoxically.


Next, begin a cycle of timed breaths. The first breath is characteristic of intercostal breathing, which dominates in the alpha state, with inhalation time equal to exhalation time. Mentally count the time for each     movement:

Breathe in:        1,         2,         3,         4,         5,         6,         7,         8

Hold in the breath:         1,         2,         3,         4

Exhale: 1,         2,         3,         4,         5,         6,         7,         8

As you concentrate, your inhalation will quicken, leading to this new pattern:

Inhale:  1,         2,         3,         4

Hold:    1,         2,         3,         4

Exhale: 1,         2,         3,         4,         5, 6, 7, 8


Inhale: 1, 2, 3, 4 Hold: 1, 2, 3, 4

Exhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,   10,       11,       12, 13, 14,        15,       16

The ability to extend the exhalation so much longer than the inhalation shows that the inhalation must be very deep. The more oxygen you are able to hold in after a quick intake, the slower and longer your exhalation can be. The final stage of timed breathing that must be accomplished and set as a pattern for meditation is:

Inhale: 1, 2, 3, 4 Hold: 1,2, 3, 4

Exhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,   10,       11,       12, 13, 14,        15,       16,

17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,   23,       24,       25, 26, 27,        28,       29,

30, 31, 32


Once you have achieved this pattern and your body can exercise it comfortably, cease concentrating on it. You have regulated your breath, and it is time to move to the next stage of meditation. Even at this preparatory stage, the three-part cycle of bringing something that is unconscious to your aware­ness, regulating it voluntarily, and letting it go must be com­pleted. Trust that it will retain the new form you have given it. In other words, trust yourself.

The next set of exercises will focus on another quality of breath. Visualizations that use the image of inhalation and exhalation can make you aware of the subtler psychic func­tions of breath as an energy that nourishes and cleanses you. Use these images (or other visualizations that you have cre­ated) whenever you feel that the particular awareness they offer you is helpful to your meditation. Alone, they are effec­tive in producing a relaxed but energized state of being. Re­member that all the exercises and methods in this book are ingredients that you can mix in your own ways for your own purposes.

While you are practicing these exercises (or any medita­tive technique), train yourself to disregard your breathing pattern. If you happen to notice that it is no longer in the paradoxical rhythm, do not stop your meditation in order to correct it. Complete the exercise. During the period of re­view, consider why a different pattern instated itself. Then, on the basis of the effectiveness of the meditation, evaluate this other pattern.

  1. Envision the air that you are inhaling to be a pale blue cloud. Inhale all that cloud. Then exhale it, carefully noticing any color changes in the cloud. Perhaps it will have turned pale gray, perhaps some other tone. This shows that you have absorbed the nutrients within it while it was in your body.


  1. Expand your breathing apparatus from your nose to your entire covering, the skin. Imagine that all the pores are inhaling and exhaling. You can feel the tingling electric quality of pores popping open and closing up over every part of your body. It is very much like the sensation you experience after you have been out in the snow and suddenly come into a warm room. Feel every part of the surface of your body breathing in and breathing out the cleansing, vitalizing oxygen in the air surrounding you.
  2. In your imagination, place a crystal or jewel on the center of your forehead. Now breathe through the jewel. Notice whether the inflow and outflow of air are colored. Do they undergo any changes in color? What happens to the jewel itself? Imagine it to be one color, then another, and observe what effect the breath moving in and out has upon the color of the jewel.

When you have completed any visualization or meditation, begin to come back to waking consciousness by transferring your focus from your imagination to your breathing, following it in and out, until it brings you into the external world.


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