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.


Author: Contessa Louise

Contessa Louise Cooper is an author, advocate, entrepreneur and healer. She is the Creator of Modern & Alternative Health magazine and the founder of MAACenter for Autism. She provides safe spaces for individuals can be their authentic selves so they can begin a holistic and spiritual healing process. Contessa is no fluff and will dive deep into your physical, mental, and spiritual health to facilitate your wellness journey. She understands culture, spiritual beliefs, and self identify plays an important role in your healing process. She sees clients locally and through virtual appointments worldwide at ContessaLouise.com/