Three Part Breath

Three part breathing is a foundational tool for balancing stress. It is powerful for relaxing the body, calming the mind and activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Begin with your attention on the front of the body. As you become more versed in the practice begin to breathe into the back and sides expanding your capabilities. Having control over and practicing the expansion and contraction of your torso increases your spinal health and massages your digestive organs, kidneys and adrenals.

This practice can be done sitting or supine. The supine practice allows for openness mostly in the front body but is an excellent way to invite sleep.

Part I- Abdominal Breath

  • Place your hand on your abdomen so that your thumbs are resting on your navel. This is how the low the breath will move, below the navel.
  • Expand your abdomen under your hands as you inhale.
  • As you exhale press the abdomen in. Feel free to use your hands to facilitate the exhale by pressing gently against your belly.
  • Repeat this for a minute or more, expanding with the inhale and contacting with the exhale.

Part II- Chest Breath

  • Wrap your hands around your ribs or place your hands, fingers facing each other touching your sternum.
  • Expand your breath under your hands feeling your ribs open away from each other on your inhale.
  • As you exhale, contact the chest pushing the breath out of your body. Use your hands to gently press the ribs as you exhale to facilitate the action and sensation.
  • Repeat this for a minute or more, expanding with the inhale and contracting with the exhale.

Part III- Clavicular Breath

  • Place your fingers on your clavicles or your palms on the tops of your shoulders.
  • As you inhale expand the area under your clavicles and shoulders. A great way to exaggerate this breath is to make a yawn with your mouth wide open on the inhale. A yawn automatically expands the clavicular breath.
  • Drop the shoulders and press down on the top of the lungs with your exhale.
  • Repeat this for a minute or more, expanding with the inhale and contracting with the exhale.

Bring all three of these breaths together into a long slow three part breath, expanding on the inhale from the abdomen up through a yawn and contracting down from the top of the torso exhaling clavicle, chest and abdomen.

Repeat this practice to create a meditative moment when driving, when falling asleep, or when ever you need a calm moment in the day.

Enjoy breathing!

~minga lily