The old Chinese proverb dealing with self-reliance, consistency and courage – plus getting somewhere on your own – lies in taking the first step.

Not long ago I was watching Book TV, and a panel of four experts on extending life were citing their research on the topic and what we might expect down the road. At the end of the hour the hostess asked a question. Basically what she asked was, “While we are waiting for you to do what you’re doing, what is the one thing we all need to be doing now that would help slow down the aging process?” The answer from all four was EXERCISE.

But right now you are in bed. You’ve had the wind knocked out of you, so to speak. Even turning over is a chore. But for some people who have been damaged in some hard-to-accept way, that first step of exercise should be taken in bed.

“With the exception of people who were extremely active as children and then continued their activities as adults, the national air intake is confined to somewhere in the middle area of the lungs and provides an inefficient function called SHALLOW BREATHING. This means that the lungs take in far less oxygen than they were designed to hold, even for simple everyday living.

Heart and lungs drawingUnless one has a really bad cold, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, or has just climbed to the top of Mt. Rainier, breathing is one of those functions that could be called automatic. Automatically, every day, you take in about 17,000 breaths… and that’s if you’re not doing anything. When you’re exercising or even just walking around the number of breaths can increase to 50,000 a day.

Ordinary everyday people, we who make the world go round, don’t even get enough air for simple daily living. What’s more, having insufficient oxygen in our bodies has more negative results than the proverbial dog has fleas! FATIGUE is just one of them.

Whatever you decide to do you can’t do it without good lungs.”


Exercise is Necessary for Life and Living. Breathing Gives Life.
As you lie in your bed, breathe in and out, in and out, in and out. Most of us are shallow breathers but for those of you on the “comeback trail,” large amounts of oxygen are needed to speed healing. Shallow breathing is inefficient and the HABIT of not getting enough air is – as they used to say about cigarettes – A NAIL IN YOUR COFFIN.

Place your hands on your chest below the PECTORALS. Take a big breath. Your chest under your hands will rise. There are three levels of lungs that need filling. You just filled the middle area.

Next, put both hands over your abdomen. As you inhale THINK air down to the very bottom of your lungs. There IS a bottom to lungs and the air down there needs to be used and exchanged for the fresh stuff often.

If you are successful, your abdomen will move outward pushing your hands out as well. Exhale and try again several times. Should you be unable to THINK that air down to the bottom, imagine pouring water into a glass. There is no way to fill up the middle and top of the glass, without starting at the bottom.

Let one hand rest there on your abdomen and place the other on your chest. As you take the next breath, direct it to your abdomen first. It won’t feel tremendous to either abdomen or hand, but don’t stop…continue to breathe in, directing that air to your chest. FEEL how the air goes in and note when the LUNGS can’t take any more. Let the air out very slowly noticing how it FEELS. Do that two or three times with your mind turned on high.

On the fourth huge breath, be determined to keep your chest flat. Insist that the air go to the bottom of the chest as the down pressure makes your abdomen rise. When you think that’s as much air as you can take into the bottom of the lungs, don’t stop there. FORCE the incoming air right up to the roof of your lungs. Then hold your breath as you count to five… then LET IT ALL OUT VERY SLOWLY. Do not be surprised if you should see a small galaxy of stars the first few times you use this discipline. Hang in there for a count of five, and many little pockets that rarely get a full share of air, will.

Make a habit of doing five FULL breaths and holding each for a slow count of five, and then exhaling slowly for a count of eight. Tie the breathing exercise to something that can’t be overlooked. Lie down for a rest… breathe! Wake up… breathe!

THE ABDOMINAL TO NECK BREATHING will start the day with a booster shot of oxygen via improved circulation. As you stretch your lungs several times a day, the capacity will increase and wonderful things will be happening to your body. Don’t expect to recognize them immediately, give it two weeks to a month, and then note any changes for the better in a notebook.

There is one more thing to learn about breathing at this time. Without your help your lungs can’t get rid of the dregs of used air. Whenever you are doing the breathing exercises – which should be often if you expect miracles – SQUEEZE the last bit out by contracting every muscle in your torso.”

In your case, the road to recovery starts with a single breath.


If you have questions or need help, email me at

The bulk of this article is from Bonnie’s yet to be published book on Fibromyalgia.

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®