“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” -Etty Hillesum
Three Part Breath – Classical Hatha Yoga
A simple and immediate relax response breathing technique that emphasizes three areas: the abdomen, diaphragm and rib cage. The major players in creating maximum volume of intake and output of breath. While specifics can vary slightly the “bottle” analogy is often used to describe directing the breath. It’s much like it sounds, filling a bottle by inhaling from top to bottom and exhaling bottom to top.
How To: Using a slow inhale to fill the lungs, then the rib cage and then sipping more breath in to fill the belly or abdomen last. Exhale using the same slow breath, first releasing from the belly then the rib cage and finally the lungs. Repeat 3-5 times a few times a day or when you go to sleep.
Enhance: During inhale and exhale place one hand on your chest and one on your belly to feel each area rise and fall as you move through each breath. Add a twist, close your eyes to tune out the external world for a few minutes to go inside and ride your breath.
This breathing technique called Dirgham Shavasam, “Dirgham” meaning lengthened and “Shavasam” meaning breath, is also called Complete Yogic Breath. It uses the full capacity of the lungs keeping the chest and lungs flexible, relaxed. When we are not in a stress response and relaxed by this breathing we can increase overall energy and automatically enhance the digestive system by relaxing it.
photo credit: Anatomy in Motion