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AHA Community > Yoga & Meditation  > Breathe and have a blast – Change your state with just 3 breaths

Breathe and have a blast – Change your state with just 3 breaths

Wait, wait, don’t read just yet! Notice your state: What’s there? Restlessness? A little bit of stress? Maybe tiredness? Lack of patience or enthusiasm? … or mere relaxation? Close your eyes and observe.


Now, …

  • Relax the shoulders and the neck; they’ve been carrying the weight of a lot of problems.
  • Relax your facial muscles and the jaw, where you’ve clenched the words, thoughts, feeling that you didn’t want to let out.
  • Allow your arms and legs to be heavy; they’ve carried you through life this whole year.
  • Sit down, so that your vertebrae are one on top of the other and support each other; they’ve always supported your frantic running around


Inhale deeply through the nose, lift the chest and belly, until you feel there’s no room left, not even for 1 tiny molecule of air. Inhale through the nose for 1-2-3-4.

And exhale fully OUT THE MOUTH, feeling the falling sensation of the chest and belly, until these is no molecule of air left in the darkest corners of your lungs. Exhale out the mouth for 1-2-3-4.

Repeat 3 times, looong and controlled inhales, looong and controlled exhales. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. 

Close your eyes and repeat 3 more times. 




I was taught that it’s NOT polite to sigh


In our daily hastiness and agitation, our breath becomes shallow, it loses its depth. The most of us, we inhale and exhale just at the top of our chest. It’s like we had no time to breath and we’re always on the run. And we are…

Additionally, taking a deep breath in and out, is mistakenly associated with sighing, which in our culture means something like “I’m bored by this conversation”, “I’m tired and I have no patience anymore”, “you’re getting on my nerves”, “I’m overwhelmed and feel hopeless”. Basically… mostly negative correlations to sighing.

BUT! The breath is the MOST PRECIOUS INSTRUMENT (“your precioussss”, not kidding) to calm you down, to relax you, to ground you in the present moment, to bring clarity to your mind, to help you focus better, be more productive and make better decisions, it CONNECTS YOU to yourself! (and to another kind of internet: the Universe, the source, the life force energy, prana… whatever you want to call it).



You’re simpatico


Now let’s get a little into how our bodies work (genius, if you ask me).

When we are agitated, always ready to take action, “plugged in”, we are in the “fight, flight or freeze” mode. This “state” was developed in for situations of great danger. When the sabretooth tiger is after you, you either fight it, run away from it or don’t move so it doesn’t hear or see you. When you are in this situation, your extremities are irrigated with blood, so you can react as fast as possible.

In everyday life, although there are no tigers in the bushes, if we have a close deadline, a baby that needs our immediate attention or simply an over-busy schedule, we are constantly in this state, i.e. in the para-sympathetic nervous system. Even at night, when, while going to bed we still think about work, while sleeping we dream of solving problems and when waking up, first thing we check our inboxes… we only perpetuate the “fight, flight or freeze” mode.


So, what happens in our bodies, when we are in the para-sympathetic nervous system?

It is VERY IMPORTANT that we are ALSO in this active state, because this is where we take action, but it is VERY UNHEALTHY to be in it all the time. Whyyy? Because, to escape the tiger:

  • Our muscle engage (this is where the tension in your muscles comes from, e.g. in your neck and shoulders)
  • Your digestion, transit and elimination of toxins is slowed down, because you don’t really want to need to go the washroom in moments of crisis
  • Your body secretes the stress hormone, i.e. cortisol (no news here), which makes you smell less appetizing for your predator (genius protection mechanism), but which is toxic for your body in high quantities

Your main take-away: it is extremely harmful for the body to be in the flight-fight-freeze mode for extended periods of time, i.e. cause of most of today’s most widely spread health issues.



The magical solution


I am actually not kidding when I say magical. Because through only 3 breaths – the way we did in the beginning – you send the message to your body that it is safe and OK to relax. Only 3, I promise!


That’s when the body enters the rest & digest or para-sympathetic nervous system. What happens in this state? Following functions activate:

  • Digestion
  • Elimination (of the toxins)
  • Cell rejuvenation
  • Immune system (most of us get sick when very stressed, because of the low immune system)
  • Fertility (!)


Do this, when:

  • You feel your breath is shallow
  • Your mind is foggy and you can’t think straight
  • You’re tired
  • Someone annoyed you and you want to break something


Sit or lay down, close your eyes, relax even the smallest muscle in your body and breathe in and out 3 times. INHALE FULLY 1-2-3-4, EXHALE COMPLETELY 1-2-3-4.

What can be an easier, faster, quicker fix than this? INHALE FULLY 1-2-3-4, EXHALE COMPLETELY 1-2-3-4.


Diana Firican

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