This article is reprinted from the June 15th, 1999 issue of Inner Connection Newsletter, the newletter of the Coptic Fellowship, Copyright ©1998 by The Coptic Fellowship.Click for newsletter subscription information.
Maintaining Physical Balance with Exercise & Breath
 by Hamid Bey
     - Breathing to absorb the Vital Force
     - An exercise for the Brain
     - For the Spine
     - For the Eyes
     - Strengthening the Coccyx (Root) Center
     - For Lung Expansion
     - Improving the Lungs and Chest Muscles
     - Strengthening the Knees
     - Strengthening the Abdomen
     - Tensing Exercise
     - For Spinal Cord
     - Reducing Exercises (Hips, Thighs, Waistline, Abdomen
     - Conclusion
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Maintaining Physical Balance with Exercise & Breath

Hamid Bey was a great advocate of physical health, teaching respect for our body through positive thinking, proper diet and exercise. The following exercises are a sampling of Hamid's physical regimen.  Please be aware that some of these exercises are strenuous and can place considerable strain on the joints.  Use common sense when attempting any of these and if you have any question about attempting them, please consult with your favorite health professional.

This program is based on breath, exercise and concentration. These exercises can be of immense benefit for improving the tissues and organs of the body. They work quickly to restore correct physical proportions and a youthful appearence. The following vital force exercises are designed for more healthful living. All of the exercises given must be taken with concentration and the will to achive the results you desire. A weak will is like a worn-out rubber band, it cannot preform its function properly.

Exercise changes the shape of the cells by streching and relaxing them This increases the rate of exchange of oxegyn and fresh nutrients entering the cells and waste products leaving the cells. Exercise helps any part of the body because it stimulates blood circulation. No exercise should be preformed without the coordination of the breath. As oxygen is brought to the cells of the body, their vitality is maintained. Food nutrients and oxygen bring vitality into the system and mind-power does the same as we concentrate on the tensions and relaxations of the exercise.
Unless otherwise noted, Breathing is done through the nose as much as possible.

Breathing to absorb the Vital Force

This exercise will give you the maximum relaxation. Repeat this exercise three times in succession, never on a full stomach. Wait at least two hours after a meal, or do it before eating. Any time you feel nervous this exercise will restore mental and physical poise. Lie flat on you back with your feet a little apart. Put the thumbs under the hollow part of the edge of your lower jaw, index fingers on your temples with out pressure. Begin to concentrate attention on your feet and gradually direct the attention toward the top of your head, tensing each part of the body, and at the same time inhale a full breath while slowly arching the back to rest on the heals and shoulders. When you have inhaled a full breath, press your thumbs against the jaw and press index fingers against temples. At this time your whole body is completely tense and in an arched position. Hold the breath, counting one to six; then extend your arms outward to the side with palms upand exhale, relax and lower the body from its arched position.
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An Exercise for the Brain

Place chin on chest and the three middle fingers of each hand against the back of the neck with finger tips touching. Massage the area just below the cerebellum by rotating the fingers of the left hand in a counterclockwise direction, and the fingers of the right hand in a clockwise direction with the fingers coming together at the center of the neck in an upward directionAt the same time inhale a full breath and gradually bring your head up to the natural straight position. Hold your breath. Tense your fingers without massaging, counting from one to six; exhale and relax, and drop your arms to the side and your chin to the chest. Repeat three times.
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An Exercise for the Spine

Extend your arms straight above your head, twisting your hands so the palms are together with the arms touching the sides of the head. Stand firmly on your feet with legs spread apart. Gradually bend forward at the waist and touch the floor with your fingers while you exhale. Slowly return to your original position, inhale a full breath. Repeat by touching the toe of the right foot. Return ti the original posture and bend and touch the toe of the left foor with the fingers. Repeat each posture two times.
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Two Exercises For the Eyes

These exercises will increase blood and circulation to your eyes as well as relaxing the muscles.

Inhale and hold the breath. Tense the neck and shoulders and at the same time squeeze your eyelids shut three times. Repeat the exercise four times in the morning and again in the evening.

Another forthe eyes (a) Lie flat on your back, inhale a full breath. Look far to the right, then far to the left without turning the head, tapping your temples rapidly with the heels of your open hands. Exhale. (b) Inhale. With eyes open, roll eyes in a wide circle to the right, then to the left, tapping your temples as in (a). Exhale. (c) Inhale. Look far upward, then far downward, far to the right and far to the left, again tapping the temples.
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Strengthening the Coccyx (Root) Center

Stretch both arms forward, right leg backward while standing on the left foot. Quickly swing the right foot forward and swing arms backward together on the right side. Repeat same on opposite side with the left leg back, standing on the right foot. Repeat the set six times.
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Three exercises for Lung Expansion

This exercise is very important to practice faithfully as it improves health, posture and increases circulation.

Place a round stick about three feet long across the back, holding it ithe bend of the elbows. Press the stick forward with your elbows so that the cheast comes forward. Do this as hard as you can without hurting yourself. While in that position, inhale a full breath. Your lungs will then be filled with oxygen and the pressure being exherted on your rib cage will cause gradual lung expansion. Hold this position and breath in & out in short sniffs. Continue for one or two minutes while rotating the body from the hips.

Another for the lungs:Take an upright position, holding the stick as above. Inhale; Hold the breath. Bend to the left as far you can; then to the right as far as you can. Return to an upright position and exhale. Repeat several times.

Another for the lungs:Using the same stick as above, take an upright position. Inhale and hold the breath while twisting the body from the hips, first right to left; then left to right in a rather quick motion. Return to the original position and exhale. Do this exercise several times.
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Improving the Lungs and Chest Muscles

Stand firmly on the floor. Inhale and hold the breath while rapidly swinging your right arm at your side four times. Rotatedownward on the back swing, and upward on the forward circular swing. Exhale. Inhale & repeat with the left arm. Exhale. Once more inhale, hold your breath and swing both arms together four times, clapping the hands in front. Repeat the complete set three times.
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Strengthening the Knees

From a standing position, bend the knwees quickly and swing the arms up to the front hrizontal position and sit on your heels. Exhale at the same time. Raise up quickly while inhaling. Stand still and drop arms to the side. Repeat exercise ten times.
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Strengthening the Abdomen

Lie flat on the floor, legs straight. Clasp your hands and place them on your abdomen. Inhale a full breath, hold; tense the whole body. Raise your fet and head ten inches from the floor; rock your body from right to left, then forward and backward. Relax and exhale; repeat six times.
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Tensing Exercise

This exercise is very helpful, especially if you are very nervous. When you do the tensing exercise, you must visualize a strong body and consciously make up an affirmation to this effect, such as "My Body is Strong and Healthy". By doing so, you will eliminate the negative pattern from your subconscious mind.

Lie flat on the floor, inhale a full breath and tense the entire body. Exhale and relax. Repeat three times and then remain on the floor for ten minutes, completely relaxed.
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For the Spinal Cord

Lie flat on your back. Inhale a full breath and hold it. Place you hands at the sides of your body, and raise your legs over your head, parallel to the floor, keeping your knees straight. Touch the floor behind your head with the toes six time, alternating legs. Go back to the original postition and exhale. Start over again and repeat three times.

Another for the Spinal Cord: Take the same position as the exercise above. Inhale a full breath and hold it. Raise your legs together over your head with out bending the knees, touching the floor with the toes of both feet at the same time. Raise the legs and exhale. Repeat six times.
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Reducing Exercises (Hips, Thighs, Waistline, Abdomen)

For the Hips: Lie flat on the floor, inhale a full breath and hold it. Raise the legs and body to rest upon your shouldersand the back of the head with the legs parallel to the floor. Place arms flat on the floor above your head. Touch the right hand with the left foot, and the left hand with the right foot alternately. Do three times each. Go back to the original position and exhale. Repeat six times.
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For the Thighs: Lie flat on the floor, clasping hands in the back of the head, elbows raised up in the air. Inhale a full breath and hold it. Raise your left knee to touch the raised right elbow (Don't raise the head or put strain on the neck), then raise the right knee to touch the raised left elbow. Do this two times to each side, and repeat the entire exercise six times.

Streching the thighs: Stand erect against a wall with the feet spread about twelve inches apart. Place hands on hips. Bend forward and, keeping the leg straight, touch the left knee with the head. Repeat six times. Next, bend forward and touch the right knee with the head. Again, keeping the leg straight. Repeat six times.

For the Waistline: Place heel of left foot on table, and hands on hips. Bend head down to touch the left knee, without bending the knee. Then twist the body to the side as far as possible, trying to touch the right knee with the head; then return to the original position and bend the head to the left knee again. Repeat with the other leg. Exhale while bending down, inhale when returning to the original position.

For the Abdomen: Sit down on legs, knees on floor, and hands on hips. Inhale a full breath and hold it. Bend backward, keeping knees on floor and touch the floor with the head. Return with out removing hands from hips. Repeat three times.
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If we are sedentary and do not exercise, there will not be enough energy circulated to prevent cell fluid stagnation and to stimulate the removal of the body's dead cells. Consequently, ill health will inevitably result. The same condition occurs when we allow thoughts of fear, anger, worry, hatred, intolerance and greed to inhabit our mind. If, or when this happens, we have lost mental control of our bodiesbecause it was easier to follow the demands of Nature. We have stepped out of the sunlight both physically and spiritually. Nature is not to blame for our condition, for we are free to think as we choose. Freedom should not be construed as being free to disregard a principle, but rather free to conform to it.

Nature's laws are just and unchangeable. If we take our health for granted, then become sick, then we will appreciate our health and act accordingly. We should give thanks to our body, when we go to bed, for the service it has rendered our soul. You should respond attentively, to the needs and care of your physical body, with healthy suggestions, proper breathing and exercise.

You are an instrument of God and it is your duty to serve; therefore, you must take care of yourself and maintain good health to the best of your ability.

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