3 Part Breathing

About the Practice

Practice Benefits

Practice Suggestions

3 Part Breathing is a calming and grounding practice where we focus on the three parts of our torsos that the breath moves through. This practice includes the fundamentals of all breathing exercises, by teaching us how to breathe fully and completely. There are three different areas in our body that the breath moves through the belly, ribcage, and chest. The order of these three parts is very important. First we learn to use our diaphragm, which is the main muscle that assists with breathing. The diaphragm muscle contracts and flattens into the abdominal cavity compacting the organs to create more space in the lung cavity. Without using our diaphragm first we will not have much room for our lungs to expand. Next, we focus on the ribcage to learn its function. The muscles between the ribs help to further enlarge the chest cavity allowing more space for our lungs to fill. These muscles contract to move the ribcage upward and then outward when inhaling. Shallow breathers typically do not expand their ribcage outward, and just breathe upward into the chest. Finally, we use the muscles in the chest and collarbone area to gently lift up a little more and create a few more ounces of space in the chest cavity. When focusing on the chest, be carful not to let your head tilt backward or let your shoulders rise up towards your ears. Keep the chin parallel to the earth, relax the shoulders and arms, and let the movement only come from your chest and collarbones.

When we exhale move in the opposite direction. From the chest, to the ribs, and then the belly. We exhale in this order to keep as much space in the lung cavity as possible until the exhale is complete. If we were to exhale with our belly first then we would be releasing the diaphragm and our organs before our lungs deflate. This is a potential danger to our lungs by putting unwanted pressure on them. During an exhale the diaphragm, rib muscles, and chest muscles relax to reduce the space in the chest cavity. As the cavity gets smaller the ribs deflate like a balloon. At the bottom of the exhale the abdominal muscles gently contract to expel out all the stale air containing carbon dioxide.

Your diaphragm muscles, the muscles between your ribs, and muscles in the chest relax

 

 Finally, we learn the action of the chest. The chest has the smallest movement of the three parts, and is 

During this practice your lungs should feel comfortably full, so be kind to your body and do not force your lungs into overcapacity. 

We begin this practice with deep belly breathing. Focusing on our bellies we fill it up with air like a balloon. With every inhale we feel the expansion of our belly balloon and with each exhale we let the belly deflate and gently engage the core at the bottom of the exhale to expel out all the stale air. Then we move on to the ribcage. We inhale and fill the belly first, then at the top of the inhale we sip in a little bit more air and fill up into the ribcage causing it to widen. 

Through 3 part breathing we practice mindfulness. We are connecting to and being present with our breath, not 

Majority of people breath shallowly and only breathe with their chest. When we practice 3 part breathing we are training our bodies to breath more efficiently. Shallow breathers can pull in up to seven times more oxygen when practice 3 part breathing. 

oxygenates your blood,

Are you shallow or belly breather? To find out, gently place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Breathe naturally and see which hand moves more. Whichever hand moves more means that your are breathing more in this part of the body. If you are a chest breather, do not fear! All it means is that you will benefit from breathing exercise

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