Breath and Breathing:
Key to the Unlimited Power of Huna
by Rev. James Vinson Wingo, DD
Life is but a series of breaths. Breath is Life. We can live a long
time without eating, a couple days without drinking, but life without
breath is measured in minutes. Something so essential deserves our
attention. Breath is the most important of all the bodily functions,
in fact all the other bodily functions depend on breath.
As much as we are dependent on breath for life, so are we largely
dependent on correct, healthy breathing habits for continued vitality
and freedom from disease.
The Complete Breathing Technique
Complete Breathing should not be forced. This is a return to nature.
Native people and infants breath this way naturally and that should
be our goal. Once you have learned Complete Breathing it is not
necessary to completely fill the lungs with every inhalation. This is
an exercise for developing healthy habits and to be used several
times a day in a controlled manner. With regular practice this manner
of breathing will become a habit.
(1) Stand or sit erect. Inhale steadily through the nostrils. Fill
the lower part of the lungs first by descending the diaphragm and
thereby putting pressure on the lower abdominal organs, pushing the
front wall of the abdomen forward. Next fill the middle part of the
lungs by expanding the chest, pushing out the lower ribs and the
breastbone. Finally fill the upper part of the lungs by protruding
the upper part of the chest and thereby lifting the chest and the
upper seven pairs of ribs. During this final movement the lower
abdomen will be brought in slightly. This movement supports the lungs
and helps fill the upper part of the lungs.
This breath is presented as three distinct movements, but the
inhalation should be continuous, even, and fluid by expanding the
entire chest, from the lowered diaphragm to the highest point of the
chest in a uniform movement. Try to achieve an even, rolling action
as you practice.
(2) Hold the breath for a few seconds.
(3) Exhale slowly through the mouth. As you do so hold the chest
firmly in place, draw the abdomen in a little and lift it up slowly
as the air leaves. When exhalation is complete you may relax the
chest and abdomen. This requires a little practice at first, but it
can easily become automatic.
Practice Complete Breathing in front of a mirror if possible with
your hands over your abdomen so that you can feel the all movements.
Rhythm. Once you have the basic structure of Complete Breathing
mastered you can begin rhythmic breathing. Try the Ha breath. Ha
means four and it means breath. It is also the sound you should make
when exhaling during the mana generating stage of the Ha Rite.
The four is divided into a ratio of 1:1:2 for the basic Complete
Breath. This means you inhale for a count of one, hold the breath for
a count of one and then exhale for a count of two. You hold the
breath to allow full oxygenation of the blood and to activate the
lymph system and you should take twice as long to exhale because that
is when you are eliminating toxins. It’s like Huna people have a
reason for doing everything!
Use your heartbeat to establish a natural rhythm. You may want to
start inhaling for a count of four beats, hold for four, and then
exhale for eight. As you develop you can raise the number of beats
for longer, slower breathing. This takes time. I started with a four
count and now average an inhalation time of about thirty seconds,
holding for thirty, and exhaling for sixty. Trained Yogis can take
several minutes for one breath. Your breathing will improve with
increased lung capacity and there’s no need to overdo it.
The Complete Breath is the foundation for all breathing. It should
become your natural way of breathing, though as mentioned before you
need not take it to the extreme with every breath. You should become
comfortable with the Complete Breath, doing it naturally and evenly
before proceeding with the following breathing exercises.
What follows are some Yoga breathing exercises which when combined
with Huna and Complete Breathing with contribute to great health,
wealth, wisdom, and happiness.
The Cleansing Breath
This breathing exercise ventilates and cleans the lungs. It
stimulates the cells and tones the respiratory organs. You may
conclude the other breathing exercises with the Cleansing Breath as
it refreshes the entire system. It can be used after speaking or
singing to rest the repertory system.
(1) Inhale a Complete Breath.
(2) Hold the breath a few seconds.
(3) Pucker the lips as if your were whistling without swelling the
cheeks. Exhale a little air through the small opening with
considerable force, stop for a moment (retaining the air), and then
exhale a little more. Repeat this exhalation pattern until the air is
The Cleansing breath can be used any time you are tired. I use this
breath any time I have been around smoke or other air pollutants.
The Chanting Breath
This technique can be used by speakers, singers, or anyone to improve
their voice. This exercise provides power, control, and clarity. This
is to be used only as an exercise and not as a regulate form of
(1) Inhale a Complete Breath very slowly and steadily taking as much
time as possible for inhalation.
(2) Hold the breath a few seconds.
(3) Exhale quickly in one vigorous breath with the mouth wide open.
This should be done instantly and your mouth should be wide enough to
insert four fingers vertically between the teeth, or as close to this
ideal as you can comfortably get.
(4) Rest the lungs with the Cleansing Breath.
The Oxygenizing Breath
This breathing exercise is designed to stimulate the air cells in the
lungs. Do not overdo it. You will likely feel dizzy the first few
times you do this. If you smoke or have smoked, do this only under
supervision because you can pass out from the incredible rush of
oxygen which your body is not used to. When I first tried this
exercise I was about fourteen, spent hours each day riding (and
racing) bicycles, and even I got dizzy the first couple times. Go
easy and if you do get dizzy, walk around a little and discontinue
the exercise for a while.
(1) Stand erect with your hands on your chest.
(2) Inhale a complete breath very gradually and slowly. As you do,
gently tap your chest with the finger tips. Move your hands
constantly so as to stimulate every inch of the lungs.
(3) When the lungs are filled, hold the breath and pat the chest with
your palms. As you progress you can pat your chest more and more
(4) Practice the Cleansing Breath.
This exercise is very stimulating to the whole body. Many of the air
cells in the lungs become inactive over time from incorrect
breathing, smoking, etc. This exercise when done regularly can
stimulate those cells back into activity over time. It is a very
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