During the heatwave, restore the body and mind with a breathing technique called, Dirga Pranayama or Three Part Breath. Three Part Breath is a technique that brings awareness and attention to the breath, bringing a calming sensation to the body and mind. When the mind wanders, notice what comes up and then simply let it go. Try to not engage in the thought, by creating a story. Focus on the breath and notice the physical changes in the body on each inhale and exhale. Find comfort and a grounding familiarity in the breath.
To do Dirga Pranayama: Come to a comfortable seat. Option to use blankets under the buttocks for support and if the hips are tight and uncomfortable while sitting. Another option is to sit against the wall for support or come to lie down on the back.
If lying down, draw the shoulder blades flush to the back and broaden through the area of the chest.If seated, sit tall and draw the shoulder blades flush to the back. Ground down through the sitting bones in order to lift more through the torso. Broaden through the area of the collarbones.
Prepare by bringing awareness to the breath and close the eyes, bringing your gaze inward. Notice on the inhale, how the belly rises and the chest expands.
On the exhale, notice how the chest contracts, the belly softens and the mind and body relax. Stay here and notice the breath for a few rounds of breath (one inhale and one exhale, equals one round of breath).
On the next inhale, bring the breath in towards the belly, and notice how the entire belly expands. Imagine your belly is like a balloon and is filling up with air. Exhale, and notice how the belly softens and imagine the air in the balloon is being let out. Draw the low-belly in towards the spine, expelling all of the air. Do this “belly” breathing for 3-5 rounds of breath.
Next, draw the air into the area of the belly and notice how the belly expands. Continue to draw in more air into the area of the chest, or in the area of the ribcage. Notice how the ribcage also expands, even throughout the back-line of the body. Exhale the air from the area of the ribcage, notice how the lungs contract. Continue to exhale, releasing the air from the belly. Draw the low-belly in towards the spine and expel all of the air. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 rounds of breath.
Lastly, draw the inhale breath into the area of the belly and notice the belly rise. Continue to draw air up into the area of the chest and notice the chest expand. Draw in more air into the area of the collarbones and notice the chest and back broaden and expand. Exhale, and release the air from the area in the collarbones and notice the area soften. Continue to exhale from the area in the ribcage and notice the lungs contract. Release the breath from the area in the belly, and draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Feel the belly soften and the mind and body relax. Stay here for 3-5 rounds of breath.
Release control of the breath and allow the breath to come back to a natural state. Notice how you feel after bringing a conscious awareness to the breath and making an effort to let go of thoughts after they arise. Practice being present in the moment by not engaging in those thoughts, but rather focusing on the breath.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.