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How to Calm Your Mind with 3-Part Yoga Breathing

Sometimes it’s as simple as breathing. Calm your mind and harness the power of clarity by practicing this three-part technique, perfect for any environment or stress-ridden situation. From My Pocket Yoga.

This exercise is drawn from the ancient Hindu system of medicine known as Ayurveda (“knowledge of life”). The Three-Part Breath is good for all three of the doshas (vatta, pitta, and kapha), which are the energies that, according to Ayurveda, compose the human body and mind in unique combinations determined at conception. When done with a focus on long, relaxed exhalations, it is especially good for calming the mind and nervous system. Avoid this exercise if you have had recent surgery or injury in your torso or head.

1. Sit tall to lengthen your spine.

2. Seal your lips and relax your forehead, jaw, and belly.

3. Begin to take steady, long breaths in and out through your nostrils.

4. Let your breath slow down so much that you can feel your belly, rib cage, then chest expand and contract with each inhalation and exhalation.

5. Take a few minutes to establish a relaxed and even breathing rhythm.

6. Next, begin to slow down and extend your exhalations, allowing them to become longer than your inhalations. To help lengthen your exhalations, gently contract your abdominal muscles as you breathe out.

7. Without straining, draw your navel back to the spine to create slow-motion exhalations.

8. Gradually build your exhalations to last twice as long as your inhalations. Stay relaxed as you gently contract your abdominal muscles to squeeze the air out of your lungs. Breathing this way helps to release strong emotions such as anger, frustration, and impatience.

9. Continue for three to five minutes.

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