DIRGHA PRANAYAMA Three-Part Yogic Breathing


TIME: 10 minutes 

BENEFITS: Energy, Improved Circulation, Increased Lung Capacity

Dirgha Pranayama combines diaphragmatic breathing, thoracic breathing, and clavicular breathing in succession to create a full and controlled breath, systematically filling and emptying the lungs. If you’re experiencing fatigue, poor posture, or depression, this technique will help uplift you.

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  2. In a comfortable seated posture or lying on the floor, allow your eyes to close, and feel your body relax.  ✺ If youd like, try using Gyan Mudra, Chin Mudra, or Anjali Mudra.
  3. Become aware of the movement of your abdomen, feeling the belly fill and empty on the rhythm of your breath, holding this awareness for 1 minute.
  4. Move your awareness to the widening and narrowing of your rib cage as you breathe, feeling the intercostal muscles between the ribs flex and release, for 1 minute.
  5. Raise your awareness higher, feeling the slight lifting and lowering of your collarbones on the inhalation and exhalation. Because this section of the lungs is smaller, this movement will be the least pronounced. Hold this awareness for 1 minute.  
  6. With an exhalation, push all the air out of your body slowly.
  7. As you inhale, first feel your abdomen expand, then your rib cage widen, and at the top of your inhalation, feel the collarbones lift. With your slow and controlled exhalation, feel your collarbones drop, then your rib cage narrow, and, lastly, feel your abdomen relax toward your spine. Continue this breathing rhythm for 5 minutes. ✺ Simplified: Inhalation: Abdomen > Rib Cage > Collarbones Exhalation: Collarbones > Rib Cage > Abdomen
  8. Allow your breath to relax and notice the energetic effects on your mind and body. Allow your eyes to gently open.
  9. Journal your experience, noting any peculiar sensations, progress, and challenges.

TIP: If you’re having a hard time compartmentalizing the breath in separate regions, you can imagine that the breath is moving up your spine as you inhale and moving down your spine as you exhale. With practice, sectioning out the breath will become easier.