Conscious Breathing: Breathing for life


BY: Liz Price-Kellogg, Instructor & Founder of River Yoga

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Co scious breathing is my anchor.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

The rhythm and depth of our breath directly affects the state of our minds and the health of our bodies. If you’ve ever attended a yoga class you are aware of the importance of pranayama or conscious breathing. We use the breath as a vehicle to direct and expand the flow of prana, or energy, into our bodies. This increases blood circulation, helps regulate blood pressure, increases lung capacity and has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. It is no wonder that more than 40 million people are practicing yoga in the United States today.

There are many pranayama techniques to help train the mind and nurture the body. Here we share Dirga Pranayama, or three-part breath:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and lifted.
  • Soften your shoulders.
  • Close your eyes and place the right palm on your belly at the navel. (The left hand may rest on your lap or thigh.)
  • Take a slow, long inhalation through the nose and feel first the low belly rise, then the rib cage expand, followed by the upper chest.
  • Exhale slowly through the nose first from the upper chest, followed by the rib cage, then the low belly.
  • Maintain your focus on each breath.
  • Repeat five times.

Keeping your eyes closed, find your natural breath and notice the effects of your breathing practice. You should feel calm, relaxed and restored!