“A mind too active is no mind at all.” – Theodore Rothke


The breath, it is said, is the pulse of the mind. When you are tense, your breathing becomes shallow or you may hold your breath, which increases tension; conversely, deep breathing decreases tension. Shallow breathing can also make you feel tired and sluggish. When that “3 o’clock slump” hits, forget the caffeine…breathe deeply instead!

  • This breath can be done in any comfortable seated position (spine straight, shoulders down and away from the ears) or lying down. (Place a blanket or bolster under your knees if you feel any strain in the low back, and a small pillow under your neck.)
  • Relax; close your eyes.
  • Exhale completely.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Allow your stomach to expand like a balloon. Sip in the breath, filling the chest and lungs.
  • Hold the breath; exhale slowly through the nose, squeezing out all the stale air.
  • If you wish, add the element of counting: inhale for a count of 5, hold the breath for 5, exhale for a count of 10. (If this count doesn’t work for you, change the pace to your liking.)
  • Repeat 5 times.

As you breathe, affirm silently:

I drink deeply from the well of Life.


  • Relaxes the body and nervous system
  • Purifies the respiratory system by expelling stale air
  • Increases energy levels
  • Relieves tension and calms the emotions
  • Improves concentration
  • Great for the complexion

~ from The Yoga Deck by Olivia H. Miller