Yoga Nidra Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 13

Extending the Exhale

10 min - Practice


With the use of sound, we calm the nervous system and extend the exhale with AUM.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Exhaling the exhale phase of our breath tells our nervous system that it is safe to let go. We can use mantra or different breath techniques to bring us into a more receptive state for our yoga nitra practice. So just take a comfortable seat, anything that you can feel is suitable for the next few minutes. It doesn't have to be fancy. And sit up nice and tall in the spine.

And as you're ready, close your eyes. Just note your own starting point, the unique state of the body, the breath, the mind in this moment. We'll begin by utilizing the sound or mantra of om audibly together a few times, but we might do it a little bit different than you're used to. You can take one hand over the other hand over the heart center. And feel the breath and the beat of the heart, the pulse and the vessels.

And in a moment with our longer breath in, we're going to open the arms out to the sides into a T shape. And in a moment with our long slow exhale, we'll slowly move the hands back over the heart with that om sound. So help slow regulate the exhalation and charge that mantra towards the heart. Let's try. Let's open through the arms.

Just pause and feel. Let's do it again. Inhale, open through the arms. Close and feel. One more time.

Inhale, open across the chest. Open through the arms. Keep your right hand on your chest and slide your left hand down to your belly. Maybe note where you feel the dominance of your breath, maybe in the top or bottom hand or maybe even somewhere else. And start taking some deeper breaths in and out of the nose, taking your time.

Notice the body, it's a little bit more willing to receive these deeper breaths. You might notice different parts of your body filling or emptying or softening to the breath. We're going to further refine the breath by taking an even inhale and exhale. So if you're inhaling for a count of six, you're exhaling for a count of six. If you like your straining at any point, just pause, recollect yourself and begin again.

Give the breath even more direction by finding that you can inhale first into the belly, holding under that lower hand, then it rises up into the middle chest and then it rises all the way up into your top hand, into the top reaches of your lungs. And then you exhale through the upper chest, middle chest and belly, pulling gently towards your spine to complete the exhalation. Do this a few times, inhaling first into the belly, mid chest, upper chest and exhale through the upper chest, middle chest and belly, engaging back gently towards the spine. Continue at a pace that feels reasonable, inhaling and exhaling for six counts each. And this three-part breath, belly, middle chest, upper chest, upper chest, middle chest, belly.

Few more rounds, maybe one part of that breath that feels quite comfortable, another one that feels a little unique, just keep offering yourself a little soft attention there, a little curiosity and watch the shifts that inevitably occur in the breath. And add one more piece to the puzzle here, taking your long, slow six-count inhale, belly, middle chest, upper chest and now just exhale for two counts, just the upper chest softens and then pause, then two more counts, exhale, middle chest softens, pause and then the last third of the breath, exhaling two more counts, pause, inhale slow, smooth, deep breath in. And exhale, third of the way out, upper chest softens, pause, exhale, another third out, middle chest softens, pause, exhale all the way out, belly moves back, pause just for a couple of beats of your own heart, empty, soft, long, slow breath in, exhale, third of the way out and pause, another third out, pause, exhale all the way out, pause. One more time, inhaling slow, deep breath in, filling all the way up and exhale, upper chest, pause, middle chest, pause, exhale all the way out, pause, empty. Now an even breath in and out, long breath, long breath out, lower your hands down onto your knees, relax the technique and just observing your new starting point, knee quality in the body, the breath, the mind, and bring your chin towards your chest, allow the eyes to flutter open, taking that into your yoga nidra practice or back into the rest of your day.

Thank you.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
This breathing practice (particularly the final part) brought me into a deep meditative state where I really felt deeply in the present moment without distraction. The chatter in my head had all but vanished! I will use this technique often...thank you Kristin! And thank you for this fantastic yoga show 🙏🏻❤️
Kristin Leal
That's wonderful to hear Jenny ! It's a particular favorite of mine:)
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Chanting is the original pranayama: ) Singing in choirs, singing in the shower - humming anytime... it's all bliss-producing! Hari Om!!
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Kate Absolutely!! Hari OM!!!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial