When things get super crazy in my life I notice I hold my breath. That is a signal that I’m clearly in some sort of distress and need to do a self-check. Focusing on my breath can allow me to be in the moment, determine the cause of my anxiety or stress then seek guidance on how to resolve it.

The in- and out-going breaths are the two guards of the City of Life.

Do you find yourself holding or taking shallow breaths? Is your life one stress-filled moment after another. Is it difficult for you to S.L.O.W. D.O.W.N? Take a moment to watch the videos of my three favorite breathing techniques when things get out of control.

1. 3 Part Yogi Breath

Dirgha Pranayama

Say It: deer·guh praa·nuh·yaa·muh

Sanskrit: dirgha, meaning “long”; prana, meaning “life force”; and yama, meaning “restraint,” or ayama, meaning “extend” or “draw out.”

How to do it:

  • You can sit in a comfortable position or lay on your back.
  • Inhale through your nose and fill your belly up like a balloon.
  • Exhale through your nose releasing all of the air in your belly.
  • Repeat several times.
  • On the next inhale, fill your belly fully and when the belly is full draw more air to expand the bottom of your rib cage.
  • Exhale from your ribs first and then flatten your belly completely.
  • Repeat several times.
  • On the next inhale fill your belly, expand your ribs and then draw the air into the area of your collarbone.
  • Exhale, first releasing air from your collarbone, then your ribs, then flatten your belly.
  • This is your full three-part breath cycle.
  • Repeat several times.

Watch the Dirgha Pranayama or 3 Part Yogi Breath with Sikana English

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi Shodhana

Say It:

nA·di shO·dha·nam

Sanskrit: dNadi meaning “channel” or “flow” and shodhana means “purification.

How to do it:

  • You can sit in a comfortable position or lay on your back.
  • Relax your left palm onto your lap and bring your right hand in front of your face.
  • With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly.
  • Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are closed; hold your breath at the top of the inhale and pause.
  • Open your right nostril and exhale slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the exhale.
  • Inhale through the right side slowly.
  • Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
  • Open your left nostril and exhale slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
  • Repeat, allowing your mind to focus on your inhales and exhales.

Watch the Nadi Shodhana or Alternative Nostril Breathing with Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur


3. Ocean Breath

Ujjayi Pranayama

Say It: ooh·JAI·yee praa·nuh·yaa·muh

Sanskrit: Ujjay meaning victory over. Prana, meaning “life force”; and yama, meaning “restraint,” or ayama, meaning “extend” or “draw out.”

How to do it:

  • You can sit in a comfortable position or lay on your back.
  • Close your mouth and constrict your throat.
  • Make a short exhalation and start inhaling.
  • Allow the air to pass through your constricted throat, creating a “friction sound”.
  • Continue inhaling till you feel a sense of fullness your chest.
  • Hold your inhale for 6 seconds.
  • Now exhale as naturally as possible.
  • Take few normal breaths and relax.

Watch the Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Breath with Ryan Cropper.

These are just a few breathing techniques that can take the edge off and soothe your soul. Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments.

Do you have a photo or a short video of you demonstrating the 3 Part Yogi Breath, the Alternative Nostril Breathing or Ocean Breath please tag us on Instagram @modalthealth.