Breathing Exercise 1: 15 Minute Prananyama Break

15 Minute Pranayama Break

The following sequence of pranayamas can be done anytime that you need to enliven your body and focus your mind.

Part 1: Complete 3-Part Breath (Dirgha Pranayama)

This breath brings focus to the 3 chambers of the lungs thereby toning the muscles of respiration and reducing stagnation inside the torso.

  • Find a comfortable seated position, inhale and exhale through the nose
  • Begin by inhaling into the lower belly, allowing it to inflate like a balloon (first chamber)
  • Expand your inhale to fill the ribs and middle chest (second chamber)
  • Expand your inhale to fill the collar bones/upper region of lungs (third chamber)
  • Feel each section of the torso expanding in a wave like motion (sense or visualize the inhalation filling up a water glass from the bottom to the top)
  • Exhale from the top of the lungs, emptying first the collarbone, then ribs and finally the lower belly (sense or visualize the exhalation emptying the water glass from the top to the bottom)
  • Practice for 3-5 minutes

Part 2:  Alternate Nostril Breath (Anuloma Viloma)

This breath assists in developing awareness of how energy moves through the body with the eventual result of purifying energy channels and allowing a stillness in the body/mind that prepares the way for meditation.


Should not be practiced over-zealously or if you have a cold or if nasal passages are totally blocked

  • Find a comfortable seated position and take few moments to notice the natural rhythm of your breath
  • Bring your right hand up towards your nose with your palm facing you (if your right arm gets tired, place your left hand under your right elbow for support)
  • Curl your index and middle fingers in towards the palm.  You will be using your thumb to close the right nostril and your ring finger to close your left nostril
  • To begin, close your right nostril with thumb and inhale through the left nostril.  Close the left nostril with the right finger and pause for a moment.  Open the right nostril and exhale.  Inhale through the right nostril, close the right nostril and pause.  Open the left nostril and exhale.  Continue in this way
  • It is helpful to silently say to yourself:  “inhale left-exhale right; inhale right-exhale left” until you feel familiar with the breath
  • Allow the pause between your inhale and exhale to be as brief or as long as is comfortable for you.  Never strain to hold the breath.  The pause should feel effortless
  • Practice for 3-5 minutes then sit for a few moments to notice the effects on the body/mind

Part 3:  Breath of Joy

This breath energize the entire system, helps open the chest and heart and detoxified the body by cleansing the lower lobes of the lungs.  It leaves one uplifted with a sense of joy!


Should not be practiced if you are pregnant, have a bipolar disorder or un-medicated high blood pressure

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width with your arms at your sides
  • Simultaneously swing your arms up to shoulder height in front of you and inhale to 1/3 capacity
  • Then simultaneously swing your arms out to your sides shoulder height and inhale to 2/3 capacity
  • The simultaneously swing your arms up overhead and inhale to full capacity
  • As you exhale forcefully through your mouth creating a “huh” sound, lean forward, head toward the floor and swing your arms down by your sides and slightly behind you
  • Repeat about 5 times.  Return to standing and notice the effects

Note:  The order of the above pranayama break can be modified according to your daily needs.

If you are feeling sluggish and need to energize and enliven, practice your pranayama in the following sequence:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

If you are feeling wound up and want to settle down or go into meditation, practice your prananyama in the following sequence:

  • Part 3
  • Part 1
  • Part 2

If you simply want to feel “actively calm”, practice your pranayama in the following sequence:

  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 1
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