Arching-Pigeon by Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio
“With each inhale we bring oxygen into the body and spark the transformation of nutrients into fuel. Each exhale purges the body of carbon dioxide, a toxic waste.” –
When you practice Dirgha Pranayama, also called the “three-part” breath, you’ll fill the three chambers of the lungs, starting with the lower lungs, then upward into the thoracic region and all the way up into the clavicular region.
This technique encourages complete diaphragmatic breathing, relaxes the mind and body, oxygenates the blood and rids the lungs of residual carbon dioxide.
  1. To begin, sit up as tall as can be, elongate through your spine.  Breathe slowly in and out through the nostrils.
  2. Bring your awareness to the low lungs and imagine your low belly and back expanding with the inhale. As you exhale allow the belly to deflate like a balloon. Repeat several times.
  3. With inhale, begin to lift each breath higher and imagine filling the mid-belly and back.  Allow the mid-chest region and rib cage to expand outwards.  Exhale and repeat several times.
  4. Follow steps 2 and 3 and imagine lifting the breath all the way up to the rim of the chest and top of the back as you inhale, filling the clavicle region.
  5. Combine all 3 steps into a fluid, omni-directional breath.

Dirgha Pramayama is great to practice:

  • Before yoga practice or meditation
  • Within each yoga posture
  • Before sleep
  • Great for any moment of stress or anxiety to slow and soothe the nerves or in a moment of reflection or joy