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Ineffective breathing patterns are common in today’s society. Combining the fact that we are less active, sitting for longer periods of time, and have poor posture can lead to negative impacts on our bodies including the heart and lungs.

Learning to breathe more deeply will increase our oxygen supply, decrease stress and anxiety levels, and create a more relaxed state of being. Try this three-part breathing technique to bring a sense of peace, balance, and overall wellness to your life.

During three-part breath, you first fill your lungs with air by breathing into your belly, ribcage, and then upper chest. Then give yourself a complete exhale by reversing the flow (upper chest, ribcage, and belly). Be careful to never force the breath or breathe too deeply. You want to feel comfortable and never feel strained. Let your breath be smooth and easy.

• Lie on your back with your knees bent and a small pillow supporting your head (if comfortable). Close your eyes and let your body breathe naturally.

• Rest your hands on your lower belly to start.

• Bring your awareness to your breath. After a few breaths start the technique.

• Begin with belly breathing (feeling your hands rise toward the ceiling) and focus on a full exhale through the mouth. Take a few breaths this way.

• Move your hands to your lower ribs and start to bring the breath into your belly and up into the lower ribs. Feel the ribs belly/lower ribs expand front to back and side to side. Take a few breaths this way.

• On your next inhalation, bring your breath into your belly, up into your lower ribs, and then up and into your upper ribs/shoulder blade regions. Feel all three areas expand front to back and side to side. Focus on fully exhaling.

• Think about inhaling belly, ribs, chest, then exhaling chest, ribs and belly.


Three-part breathing can be soothing during times of stress and anxiety. You can practice it many times throughout your day (lying down, seated or standing) — even two or three breaths will have a positive effect! Remember to keep it easy and relaxed, and you will notice the benefits.

If your breath becomes strained or you start to feel dizzy or anxious, stop the exercise and let your normal breathing pattern return. Always perform this technique within your ability. If you have any concerns please talk to your therapist for tips.