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Three Part Breath: Nip anxiety in the bud

Updated: May 5, 2022

Mild panic, looming.

Maybe you feel the nagging thrum of anxiety resonating like a high note, just out of tune with the natural vibration of Spring all around you.

This month's Mini Home Practice nips anxiety in the bud through conscious down-regulation of the nervous system.

To try it, bring your attention to your chest, noticing the area around your heart. Start with a fact-finding mission, assessing the state of this area of the body. Observe any physical sensations. Can you feel your chest moving? Where exactly do you feel it? Is the motion smooth, sharp, restricted? Rapid, sluggish, expansive, frozen? Can you feel your heart beating? Racing, even?

Allow yourself permission to feel.

Perhaps there is generosity and joy here. Or maybe you find a deep ache, tension, darkness, or fear. What emotion does the exploration of the heart space evoke, and how does the experience of that emotion manifest physically in your body?

If the inquiry feels too vulnerable, acknowledge the blockage and accept the heart's message with understanding and kindness toward yourself. Allow yourself to move on to the next step.

Breathe in fully. Exhale in three parts, pausing in between each part. To do so, inhale fully and comfortably, then exhale 1/3 of your air. Briefly pause. Exhale another 1/3 and briefly pause. Complete your exhale and briefly pause. Repeat the cycle. Continue breathing in this way about six to ten times, or until you feel complete.

Find a sustainable way of practicing this Three Part Breath that is not too taxing.

Next, release the holds (called kumbhakas, or the retentions of the breath in the yoga practice of pranayama.) Breathe fluidly in and out. Allow your exhales to become slightly longer than your inhales. Reduce the arc of the breath until it becomes smaller and more restful.

Eventually, release the control of the breath entirely. Allow your breath to settle into its natural rhythm without your conscious participation.

Finally, revisit your heart space awareness. Notice any changes that can be felt, both physically and energetically.

Seal your practice by bringing your right hand to your heart, and your left atop your right. Bow your head to honor the parts of the Self residing here in the heart. Direct wishes of forgiveness, kindness, and understanding to your inner Self.

Practice daily, or any time you feel anxiety rising.

If you enjoy this practice and find it beneficial, consider sharing it with a friend.



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About me


Christine Saari, MA, E-RYT 200, C-BDYT is a yoga therapist with private practices in New Haven and Guilford. She lives in Guilford, CT with her husband, two sons, and her goldendoodle. When she's not writing or teaching yoga, you might find her cooking without a recipe or walking barefoot outside. Christine is grateful to be part of the emerging field of yoga therapy, and she is proud to offer health options that empower people to take a leading role in their own healing process.

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Individual services in New Haven and Guilford locations for physical and mental health conditions. Specializing in anxiety disorders and mental health conditions, as well as pain. 


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