Body Talk: Three Part Breath

When you lay down on the massage table, your body will likely begin to relax into the table. As you continue to lay flat, the breathe may come into your awareness. The inhalation and exhalation of the breath may become the only sensations you feel as your body gives way to gravity. This is a perfect moment to invite your awareness to your breath, and in particular the rhythm of the breath. The breath brings in oxygen which then circulates through the body along with nutrients for every cell. Attention to breath connects the body and mind, creating inner calm and inner oasis.

Breath is the key to our living. When our body breaths well, we are healthy. For thousands of years the yogis have practiced pranayama, or breath control. Prana means breath, or life force; ayama means control. One of my favorite pranayamas is three part breath. This is a focus on breathing into first the belly, then the rib cage and then the tops of the shoulders. This takes some getting used to in part because we are often breathing shallowly into our chest.

Three part breath begins on an inhale into the belly and lower back. With the belly full, the ribcage will expand forwards and sideways. As the breath continues, the shoulders and clavicles will expand. The exhale begins at the top of the lungs, with the shoulders and clavicles emptying. The ribcage softens and collapses inward until you feel the belly emptying and the diaphragm muscle relaxes. Invite another breath into the belly, into the ribcage, up into the shoulders as you continue to read. Pause with this full breath for a moment before you release the shoulders, ribcage and belly.

Practicing three part breath calms the nervous system. Slowing the breath down, paying attention to the sensations of the breath moving in and out of the body connects the mind and body. Mindful attention to the breath gently engages both the nervous system and the circulatory system. As the nervous system calms down the breath deepens and circulation becomes more effective.  This article from Kripalu: https://kripalu.org/resources/breath-body-and-mind-physiology-pranayama describes more about the physiological changes that occur during pranayama practices, such as the three part breath.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

If you would like to be introduced to the three part breath integrated into a massage and craniosacral therapy session, please contact me: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org or 603 365-0852.
I look forward to meeting you.

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