This section is from the book "The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: The Secret of Mental Fascination.
I shall now instruct you in the direction of certain forms of exercise designed to generate nerve-force, or physical magnetism, both in the phase of absorption and that of distribution, according to the general principles set forth in the preceding chapters.
Absorption. The exercises, themselves, are designed to give a free and full distribution to the nerve-force or physical magnetism, but the student must always remember that before the nerve-force may be distributed it must first be absorbed. The absorption, of course, is performed by means of the breath-rhythm, according to the instruction already given you.
IMPORTANT: Remember that every series of distribution exercises must be preceded, and followed, by the practice of the rhythmic breath for a few moments. It will also be found beneficial and useful to interject a short period of rhythmic breathing in between these exercises, from time to time. You will soon discover the need of this, from your own feelings. After you have gained familiarity and ease in practicing the distribution exercises, you will find yourself becoming very sensitive to the inflow of the nerve-force during the breath-rhythm exercise, and in a short time will know by your feelings exactly when you need to absorb more nerve-force during the exercise.
At this point I wish to again remind the student that one of the main features of my nerve-force exercises is that of the entire absence of artificiality, and the presence of "naturalness." I do not give set forms of breathing, to be practiced just so often, for so many minutes at a time. Instead, I give the general principles of the method - the "why" as well as the "how" - and then bid the student to be governed entirely by his own instincts in the matter of the duration of exercises, and frequency of the same.
After a short time the student will fall into the natural habit, just as he does into the habits of eating and drinking, and he will know exactly when he should practice nerve-force generation, and how long he should continue the exercises.
Keep the words "Be Natural" before your mind, and you will make no mistake. Never overdo the exercises, or force yourself to perform them when you do not feel like it. Avoid anything approaching artificiality in the matter. Sometimes you may go a long time without practicing and again you may feel the need of the same very often - in either case follow nature's urgings. Again, you may feel like taking but a moment's exercises at a time - like taking a sip of water, while on other occasions you will feel like taking a long spell of exercise - like taking a deep draught of water when you happen to be very thirsty - follow nature in both instances.
STRETCHING EXERCISE. I will begin by calling your attention to a form of exercise which consists of intelligent simple "stretching," but which form of exercise will be found very beneficial. There are a variety of forms of this exercise. I will give you a few general forms, and you may then enlarge on these, and invent combinations, variations, etc.
I. Lying on your back, extend your arms upward over your head, to their full extent - stretch them out easily but thoroughly as far as they will go. Then slowly pull them in. Repeat several times.
II. Stretch the arms sideways from the body - out and then in, several times.
III. Stretch the legs in the same way, several times.
IV. Stretch the neck several times.
V. Stretch the hand and fingers, by moving the hands backward and forward from the wrist, clenching and unclenching the fist: opening and closing the fingers.
VI. Stretch the feet and toes, in the same general manner as in the case of the hands and fingers.
VII. Turn over and lie on your stomach, with the face down on the pillow or floor, and repeat the above exercise in this position. This will bring into play a number of muscles not employed in the former position.
VIII. Rise to your feet and stand with the legs spread out, the feet several feet apart, with arms extended upward and outward. This will bring your body into the general shape of the letter "X." Then rise to your toes and stretch upward as if you were trying to touch the ceiling.
Repeat several times.
You will be surprised at the feeling of rest and renewed strength, which will come to you as the result of the practicing of the above simple stretching exercises. And yet, simple as they are, these exercises perform a great work. You must not lose sight of the fact that when you tense these muscles, in the act of stretching and then contracting the limbs, you really "squeeze out" the old, worn out, depleted magnetism, and absorb in its place a fresh supply of vigor, vitality and vim from the great reservoirs of the nervous system.
Carry in your mind the idea of the sponge, which in order to absorb fully a supply of fresh water, must first be thoroughly squeezed out. The process of the absorption and distribution of nerve-force is very close indeed to the process of the squeezing-out and refilling of the sponge. The following "tensing exercises" are really but an extension of the stretching exercises, more elaborate and complicated, but embodying the same principle. They are useful in energizing the several parts of the body, which are not actively energized by the simple stretching exercises.
Shoulders and Chest. Stand erect; feet close together; arms at sides. Then draw forward your shoulders, as far front as they will go. Hold the position a moment, and then slowly press the shoulders back as far as they will go. This will tend to energize the shoulders and chest.
The chest may also be energized by taking a few deep, full breaths, which will inflate the lungs and thus extend the chest. The shoulders may also be energized by raising them upward in a "shrug" and then slowly lowering them to original position.
Arms, Wrists, and Hands. Any simple exercise, which will extend and then contract the arm-muscles, will serve to energize the arms. Twisting them first one-way and then another will do likewise. Twisting the wrist and moving the hands loosely backward and forward from the wrist tends to energize several very important muscles and nerves in this part of the body.
Clenching and unclenching the hands will energize the hands and fingers. Spreading out the fingers fan-shape and then drawing them together will energize the fingers thoroughly.
Legs, Feet, and Toes. Follow the general idea of the arm and hand exercises, just mentioned, in the case of the legs, feet and toes. "Squatting" energizes the thighs. Raising up the toes and then lowering to original position energizes the calves of the legs. The "standing-still run" is a good general leg energizer.
Neck. Move the neck forward, as far as it will go, then backward, as far as it will go; then sideways, to the right, as far as it will go - then to the left in the same way; then twist to the right as far as it will go, then to the left in the same manner. These are splendid neck energizers. There are important nerves running through the neck, which are energized by these exercises.
Twisting and Bending. What may be called "a twisting" of the different parts of the body serves to energize the parts very well indeed. In the same way, "bending" exercises are good.
Not only may the legs and arms be twisted easily and effectively, but the entire trunk of the body may be equally effectively twisted by standing erect with feet, say eight or ten inches apart, toes out, and arms hanging easily by the sides; then easily twisting the body to the right, the neck, trunk and thighs being carried as far as they will go; then twisting to the left in the same manner; repeating several times. Bending the body to the right, then to the left, then forward, then backward, is a good energizer.
In a Nutshell. The foregoing exercises might be elaborated into a book by itself but what's the use? I have given you in a nutshell the main elements of the exercises, and you may do the elaborating yourself. In fact, I can sum up the general principles of the exercises in three words, viz.: STRETCHING, TWISTING, And BENDING. Think over these three words, and you will see that if you will apply them in every possible way to the various parts of the body, you will have a whole system of tensing exercises at your command, without purchasing expensive textbooks on the subject. And, also, remember that in any and all of the so-called "tensing exercises" systems is to be found the best possible principle of nerve-force distribution - always, however, remembering to include the rhythmic breathing according to my previously given instructions. Now, get to work and exercise your ingenuity in devising variations and combinations of the "stretching, twisting and bending" principles. This will energize your mind as well as your body.
Energizing the Solar Plexus. The Solar Plexus lies exactly behind the pit of the stomach. It may be energized by practicing a "drawing in" of the abdominal muscles. This may prove a little difficult at first, but a little practice will make perfect. Draw the abdominal muscles "inward and upward" several times at each exercise.
The Sacral Plexus. The Sacral Plexus is another important plexus, or great center of nerve force. It is located in front of the lower part of the spinal column in the region of the hips. It may be energized by a special stretching, bending and twisting of that particular region of the body.
In case of impaired vitality or general weakness, a little extra energizing of these two plexus may be found very advantageous and beneficial, as they directly affect large regions of the body, and important organs.