How to Breathe With Ease by F. Matthias Alexander

Summary
  1. Quick read with some basic principles on how to properly breathe
Key Takeaways
  1. He found that he would do three things differently when reciting, his head would tilt backwards, he would depress his larynx (voicebox), and he would suck in breath to make a kind of gasping sound. When he figured out how to get his head to go forward and up, so that it was as if a string was pulling the head up from it crown, he found he no longer sucked in breath, and his voice would not suffer.
  2. Over time he developed the basic principles for breathing:  
    1. Head is tilted slightly forward, and upward.
    2. Neck is free and relaxed
    3. Shoulders relax downward
    4. Shoulders widen
    5. Back lengthens
    6. On the outbreath especially concentrate on allowing the above 5 points to happen
    7. The diaphragm may naturally sink on the inhale as your body assumes the natural posture (as contrasted with moving upward during the inhale). This allows the chest to expand without the shoulders lifting upward
    8. The air comes into the body as a natural action, not as a sucking.
    9. The body is in general to be relaxed
    10. One can practice making an ahhh sound on the exhale, which teaches the body to be relaxed on the exhale.
    11. There are certain stimuli and situations that can cause a person to go into a tightening of their body.
    12. One can practice inhibiting ones reactions to those stimuli.
    13. Let go of end-gaining, the attachment of getting to a goal.   
  3. He had thus discovered important connections between medical disease, posture, thought, and breathing.   
  4. The artificial conditions of modern civilized life, among which is comparative lack of free exercise in the open air, are conducive to the inadequate use of breathing power.   
  5. The serious interference with the circulatory processes and the inadequate oxygenation of the blood prevent the system from being properly nourished and cleansed of impurities, for the action of the excretory processes will be impeded and the whole organism slowly but surely charged with foreign matter, which, sooner or later, will cause acute symptoms of disease.   
  6. it is essential to have a proper mental attitude towards respiratory education or re-education, and the specific acts which constitute the exercises embodied in it, together with a proper knowledge and practical employment of the true primary movement in each and every act.   
  7. If the thorax is expanded correctly the lungs will at once be filled with air by atmospheric pressure, exactly as a pair of bellows is filled when the handles are pulled apart.   
  8. The chief peculiarities or defects may be broadly indicated as: —   1. An incorrect mental attitude towards the respiratory act.   2. Lack of control over, and improper and inadequate use of, the component parts of the different mechanisms of the body, limbs, and nervous system.   3. Incorrect pose of the body and chest poise, and therefrom consequent defects in the standing and sitting postures, the interference with the normal position and shape of the spine, as well as the ribs, the costal arch, the vital organs, and the abdominal viscera.   
  9. That where the human machinery is concerned Nature does not work in parts, but treats everything as a whole.   
  10. That a proper mental attitude towards respiration is at once inculcated, so that each and every respiratory act in the practice of the exercises is the direct result of volition, the primary, secondary, and other movements necessary to the proper performance of such act having first been definitely indicated to the pupil.   
  11. There is a rapid clearing of the skin, the white face becoming a natural colour, and a reduction of fat in the obese by its being burnt off with the extra oxygen supply.
What I got out of it
  1. Not too much but the framework on how to properly breathe is interesting

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