This breathing technique might also be referred to as 3 dimensional breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. It has been studied extensively and proven to calm the nervous system connecting the mind and body. Once you get used to this way of breathing the Dirgha breath can be used during physical practice (asana) or in daily life anytime you need to pause and take a deep breath. By breathing deeply in this way we give every cell in the body it’s full capacity of oxygen.
You can practice this exercise laying down, seated or standing in any position once you are comfortable with it. It might be best to try it laying down as you first explore and sense the breath expanding in all 3 dimensions (front body, sides, back against the earth). You can explore filling the 3 parts (belly, low ribs, chest) consecutively, separating each area with pauses and sips of air, or in separate sections with a full round of breath until you feel the expansion in all areas. It might be helpful to use your hands as a guide and breathe into the different parts of the body.
Start by becoming aware of your natural breath.
On an exhale let all the air out.
Bring your hands to your belly.
Inhale through your nose and visualize your low belly expanding like a balloon.
Exhale and release through your nose (or mouth if you prefer). [Repeat ~3 times]
Bring hands to the side of your ribs.
Inhale through your nose and feel your rib cage expand.
Exhale and let the air out. [Repeat ~3 times]
Bring hands to your upper chest, under the collar bones.
Inhale and feel your chest and lungs expand.
Exhale and let the air out [Repeat ~3 times]
Now bring your right hand on your belly, left hand on your heart.
Begin to combine breathing into all 3 parts consecutively starting with your low belly, then filling up the middle ribs, and then upper chest.
Exhale to release the air out fully. [Repeat ~3 times]
Release your hands back down.
Allow your breath to find its natural pace and feel the effects of your practice.