Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

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Posts Tagged ‘Samavrtti’

Three Part Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on March 12, 2018

There are eight different limbs to yoga. The poses or asana is just one of them. That is probably the one you are familiar with, the poses. Modern Western yoga is primarily about the poses. When you hear yoga, you more than likely think of an exercise where people bend and stretch. Well, as I mentioned there are eight limbs to yoga, meaning there is a lot more to yoga than just the poses. I often compare yoga and Nia because there is a lot more to Nia than just the dance exercise. A lot of what we do in Nia or the way we approach dancing and exercising can be applied to everyday life – and that is just like yoga. One of the limbs or aspects of yoga is Pranayama. Prana = Life Force Yama = Practice / control / restrain. Pranayama is controlling your breath.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitThere are many types or ways of doing Pranayama. There are also many schools of thought when it comes to it. Some think you shouldn’t do it until you have mastered the asana . . . but then for many of us, that would mean never doing it . . . or doing it very late in life. Some say it must be done in a seated position. Some say not to do it while in Shavasana. Some say each Pranayama has its place.  Some say you can jsut do it whenever.  Some say Pranayama is a silly practice.

For those that think it is silly I would just like to point out that controlling one’s breath is a very common technique for many things. Sometimes we take a deep breath before we are about to say something important or difficult. We might take a deep breath when our thoughts are racing and we want to calm them down. We might take a deep breath when we are excited and need to calm down. We might do a bit of a pant when we are experiencing pain. There are many common breathing techniques that pretty much most of have participated in. So Pranayama should really be too far out there for people to accept. Doesn’t mean everyone has to do it, but I feel it means pretty much everyone could agree that there is merit to it.

The ones that I have previously posted about: Samavrtti (Equal Breath), Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), and Sitali (Cooling Breath), I feel that I can do. The one I am posting about now is not one that I can do. It is very difficult for me. I can get part of it but not all of it. I am talking about Dirgha or 3 Part Breath.

With the Dirgha Pranayama you breathe into your torso in three parts. I was taught that you practice this Pranayama lying down. First you inhale, gently expanding the belly, as you continue to inhale you expand the ribs, allowing them to open up to the sides, then complete the inhale by expanding the upper chest, lifting it. To complete the breath you exhale starting with the upper chest — don’t let the ribs or the belly move — then exhale from the ribs allow the rib cage to shrink, then finish the breath by emptying the belly area allowing it to deflate. Repeat this process with a smooth and relaxed breath. So the breath is not done in three parts, but the breath is brought into three different areas one at a time.

It is an extreme challenge for me to separate each area on the exhale. One technique that can help with the separate or at least give you a visual as to the separate areas is to place something on each area. Yoga sandbags are the perfect tool. Something with a little weight seems to help for me. But a towel or whatever can lay across each area and indicate movement is great.

Pranayama is practiced – just giving a few – to help improve lung function, to steady the mind (when the breath is steady the mind is steady), and to relax the body and mind. So, if you want to achieve any of these, then you might want to try the Dirgha Pranayama.

When you read it, did you try it? How did you do?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cool Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on June 19, 2017

When I was young I remember waiting impatiently for my dad to get home one day. The second I saw his truck I was out the door running to it. I distinctly remember bombarding him with questions before he even opened the truck door. We had been assigned to do a little research. You probably did it too in school. You had to go home and check with your family to see if their ears were attached with or without lobes and to see if they could roll their tongue. I think that my mom could do it, but my dad could not. But I could be wrong on that. I don’t know about my brother. I don’t remember if I checked with him or if he wasn’t home or what.  Funny . . . I remember running up to my dad’s truck to ask him, but I don’t really remember the results.  Currently, it is almost summer, but the temperatures think it is summer and we are having unbearable heat. I was thinking about cooling asana and I came across a pranayama that I had not remembered studying, is supposed to help cool the body.

First of all, (back to the tongue rolling) when I was in school they taught us the ability to roll your tongue was genetic. But I am finding out now, that there have been many studies that point to it not being genetic. One family study in 1951 sampled a large group which showed “non-rollers” had “roller” children . . . they concluded that couldn’t happen if rolling was simply “a simple one-gene, two-allele genetic character, with rolling completely dominant to non-rolling”.

Now back to the pranayama. There are many pranayama and even more variations. Pranayama is a limb of yoga and is – at its very basic – breath control. They are ways of breathing in different ways. Each one said to help (and sometimes hinder) specific issues. There is one technique called Sitali, which is a cooling breathing technique.  As I mentioned, it has been hot here so I feel many of us could use techniques that will allow us to cool our body down.

This pranayama is easy and can be practiced by anyone that can safely practice asana.

A lot of instructions on pranayama instruct the practitioner to be in a specific position. I would recommend assuming the instructed position when possible, but also, since pranayama is used to target specific issues, I also believe it can be done when needed. Say the ideal way to practice a technique is cross-legged with your eyes closed in a calm place with no distractions . . . but you are needing/wanting to find some calm while stuck driving in traffic. I would encourage you to try the technique, but obviously you are not going to be able to sit cross-legged, traffic is not a calm situation, and you should not be closing your eyes, but Samavrtti or Equal Breath pranayama during traffic, might help make it more bearable.

So for this one, if you can . . . yes, sit in a calm distraction free area on the floor in sukhasana using whatever props you need to be comfortable. But if not, try it where you are able.



Relax your shoulders and lengthen your spine. Let your face relax.

Then curl your tongue and let it stick out from your pursed lips.  Just let it stick out, no need to jut it out far. Then inhale through your mouth letting air come through your rolled tongue. Take a full inhale.  Then bring your tongue into your mouth, close your mouth, and exhale slowly through your nose.

Repeating it at least 5 times. More if you want and you are able.

If rolling your tongue is not something you can do, just put your tongue up against your lower front teeth, purse your lips as if you are going to whistle, then inhale, allowing the air to pass over your tongue. Take a full inhale.  Close your mouth.  When you are ready to exhale do so slowly through your nose.


As I often say, there are many variations on how to do asana, same with pranayama.  There are variations to this, but this is the basics.  Inhale through your mouth over the tongue, exhale through your nose.

Seems easy enough.  Did you try it?  Did it help cool you down?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »