May 27, 2015

A 3-Minute Breathing Exercise to Kickstart Your Day.

face woman breathe meditate

Pause for a moment and take a few natural breaths.

Observe your belly as you breathe: does it expand with each inhalation or does it contract?

If your belly draws toward your spine as you inhale, if it doesn’t move at all, or if you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, it’s time to get back to breathing basics.

This three minute yogic breathing exercise does just that…and it may even change your life.

The power of the breath should never be underestimated.

Many of us have adopted unhealthy breathing habits that need to be undone. Rather than using our full lung capacity to breath deeply into the belly, we breathe shallowly into the chest. As a result, we deprive our internal organs of much needed oxygen. This negatively impacts digestion; bad breathing habits are often seen in people with digestive disorders. Plus, because the breath and mind are intimately connected, shallow breathing actually creates unnecessary feelings of anxiety and stress.

If anyone knows all about the breath, it’s yogis. They’ve long used the breath to influence the mind and health through the practice of breath regulation called pranayama. In fact, yogis even believe that we’re each allotted a certain number of breaths.

Once we sip in our very last, we leave this human body.

In order to lengthen the lifespan, yogis employ slow, deep, abdominal breathing.

You too can benefit from breathing like a yogi. If you noticed your belly contracting as you inhale, this pranayama technique will undo bad breathing habits. It’s a form of abdominal breathing that redevelops a normal pattern of breath, all the while nourishing your entire being.

It also fires up the power of digestion, increases circulation, helps to drain lymph, and expels respiratory toxins. The prolonged inhalations and exhalations massage the liver, stomach and internal organs.

You’ll quickly feel the breath’s impact on your nerves, as this breath calms the mind and relieves stress.

Putting Abdominal Breathing into Practice

1. Sit comfortably. Lengthen your spine.

2. Interlace your fingers and rest your hands on your belly. Close your eyes and mouth.

3. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, sending the breath into your belly. Feel your hands move away, belly expanding. Breathe out slowly and deeply through the nose. Feel your hands draw toward you, belly contracting. Repeat two more times.

4. With your next breath, lengthen your inhalation to a count of five. You can silently count om 1, om 2, om 3, om 4, om 5 to keep a rhythm. Feel the belly expand.

5. Exhale slowly for ten counts. Feel the belly contract.

6. Repeat this breath nine more times; inhaling for five, exhaling for ten.

7. When you’re finished release your hands and return to natural belly breathing. Feel the peaceful energy flowing throughout your body.

Practice this exercise once or twice daily and anytime you feel stressed.

You’ll soon reestablish a normal, healthy breathing pattern that soothes and nourishes your body and mind.





Saraswati, Swami Satyananda. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust, 2008.





15 Benefits of Nose Breathing Exercise.




Author: Julie Bernier

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Monica Rodgers at Pixoto 

Reply to Joan cancel

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Nov 26, 2015 7:47pm

Thank-you. A simple routine to start the day nicely.

Joan Jun 6, 2015 1:00pm


newborn baby Jun 2, 2015 11:27am

It’s difficult to find experienced people in this particular subject,
but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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Julie Bernier

Julie Bernier teaches women the art of self-care so that they feel their healthiest and happiest in their own unique bodies. This holistic approach to individualized wellness is rooted in the ancient Indian knowledge of ayurveda: a complete medical science and way of life which explains that our wellbeing blossoms when we align ourselves with nature. Julie is a registered ayurvedic practitioner with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, a Certified Massage Therapist, and a classical hatha yoga teacher. She studied each of these modalities in the US and straight from their source in India. Connect with Julie at trueayurveda.com and check out her upcoming events in LA: ayurvedic cooking basics and ayurvedic skin care.