The book teaches that Yoga is divided into several branches, ranging from that which teaches the control of the body, to that which teaches the attainment of the highest spiritual development.
It explains that science of yoga is chiefly concerned with the development and control of the physical, has also its psychic side, and even enters the field of spiritual development.
The great schools of yoga in India are also discussed.
I. Salaam 1
II. "Breath Is Life" 3
III. The Exoteric Theory of Breath 11
IV. The Esoteric Theory of Breath 16
V. The Nervous System 20
VI. Nostril Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing 23
VII. The Four Methods of Respiration 27
VIII. How to Acquire the Yogi Complete Breath 33
IX. Physiological Effect of the Complete Breath 36
X. A Few Bits of Yogi Lore 40
XI. The Seven Yogi Developing Exercises 43
XII. Seven Minor Yogi Exercises 48
XIII. Vibration and Yogi Rhythmic Breathing 51
XIV. Phenomena of Yogi Psychic Breathing 55
XV. More Phenomena of Yogi Psychic Breathing 61
XVI. Yogi Spiritual Breathing 69
"BREATH IS LIFE."
Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing. "Breath is Life."
Differ as they may upon details of theory and terminology, the Oriental and the Occidental agree upon these fundamental principles.
To breathe is to live, and without breath there is no life. Not only are the higher animals dependent upon breath for life and health, but even the lower forms of animal life must breathe to live, and plant life is likewise dependent upon the air for continued existence.
The infant draws in a long, deep breath, retains it for a moment to extract from it its life-giving properties, and then exhales it in a long wail, and lo! its life upon earth has begun. The old man gives a faint gasp, ceases to breathe, and life is over. From the first faint breath of the infant to the last gasp of the dying man, it is one long story of continued breathing. Life is but a series of breaths.
Breathing may be considered the most important of all of the functions of the body, for, indeed, all the other functions depend upon it. Man may exist some time without eating; a shorter time without drinking; but without breathing his existence may be measured by a few minutes.
And not only is Man dependent upon Breath for life, but he is largely dependent upon correct habits of breathing for continued vitality and freedom from disease.
An intelligent control of our breathing power will lengthen our days upon earth by giving us increased vitality and powers of resistance, and, on the other hand, unintelligent and careless breathing will tend to shorten our days, by decreasing our vitality and laying us open to disease.