Dirgha Pranayama, known as “three-part breath”, is a diaphragmatic breath that uses the abdomen, the diaphragm and the chest to allow a deeper inhale and exhale.
When you allow your lungs to expand to their capacity, oxygen is supplied at a higher rate, allowing more nourishment to reach your hungry cells.
By using the diaphragm in Three-Part-Breath, you will not only improve your breathing but also strengthen your intestinal muscles and diaphragm.
When you practice it regularly, you can develop muscle memory, which allows you to take deeper breaths even when your body is on auto-pilot.
It can be one of the most calming and grounding breathing exercises you can practice.
Dirga Pranayama helps you focus your attention HERE AND NOW and become aware of the sensations in your body.
If you have attended one of my classes, you might have already practised this pranayama with me.
It is a great way to bring yourself to the present moment to allow your body to “land” into the mat.
Benefits of three-part breath:
- You will feel calm and at peace.
- Experience more alertness and the ability to focus.
- Relieve stress (even panic attacks).
Remember to watch the VIDEO Where I explain it how to do this pranayama:
How to do it:
Lay on your mat or sit in an easy pose.
PART 1: Preparation
- Relax your face and your body. If you lie down, you can keep your legs bent and touching each other or outstretched. Find a way to relax.
- Become aware of your breath, observing how your inhalation and exhalation are; do not control or try to change anything. Observe your breath.
- Begin to deepen your breath.
- Inhale, filling the belly up with your breath, expanding it like a balloon.
- Exhale and expel all the air from the belly throughout your nose. Bring your navel back towards your spine and empty your stomach.
- Repeat this deep belly breathing for about five breaths.
- Inhale, filling the belly up with air. When the stomach is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage.
- Exhale, letting the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and then from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
- Repeat five times.
- On the next inhale, repeat the previous steps (filling the belly and rib cage up with air), then sip in more air (a 3rd time) and let it fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, expanding the area around the heart centre.
- Exhale, let the breath go first from the upper chest, sinking the heart centre back down, then the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together and finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine until your stomach is empty.
- Continue at your own pace breathing smoothly.
- Continue for about ten breaths.
If you have asthma, you might find this pranayama quite challenging.
You can try it, but you feel any dizziness, return to your breathing pattern.
If you want to learn other breathing techniques, have a look at these: