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And Breathe…

The secret to feeling less stressed, more energised and much happier? It’s been under our noses all along…

And Breathe... Breathguru® in Red Magazine

When was the last time you thought about your breathing? Probably the last time you ran for a bus! But given that we take more than 17,000 breaths a day, it’s worth paying attention to. ‘When we harness breath work, we can use our body to tell our mind to slow down,’ explains breathing expert Dominique Antiglio, from BeSophro clinic. In moments of stress our breathing can become short and shallow. But simply taking some slow, deep breaths is a quick-fix calming method.

‘By aiding relaxation, controlled breathing lowers the impact of the stress hormone cortisol on your body and even improves core muscle stability,’ says GP Dr Ismat Nasiruddin. ‘Stress leaves your immune system susceptible to numerous health conditions, so deep breathing can help reduce these effects, too,’ One study, conducted by the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, found that diaphragmatic breathing helped lower blood pressure. Another, from Brigham Young University,
Utah, found breathing at resonance frequency (six breaths per minute) plays a role in lowering heart rate.

The best breath-work exercises for…
What are you waiting for? Take a deep breath and get started.

Combating stress
By Alan Dolan, a breathing coach and the founder of Breathguru

TECHNIQUE: CONSCIOUS CONNECTED BREATHING
● Lie down in a comfortable, warm space in a slightly elevated position, so that your upper chest is higher than your abdomen.
● Place your hands over your navel.
● Imagine a balloon is in your abdomen. Open your mouth and inflate the balloon as you inhale.
● Deflate the balloon by exhaling through the mouth with a short, soft sigh (like fogging a mirror).
● Repeat this for five minutes, making sure you are breathing in a relaxed way and that the inhalation is longer than the exhalation.
● Then, simply relax for five minutes, allowing the breath to go back to the nose and letting it take care of itself.

First thing in the morning
By Dr Buathon Thienarrom, a holistic practitioner

TECHNIQUE: YANG BREATHING
● Inhale through the nose for a count of four.
● Exhale through the mouth for four counts.
● Imagine circulating the air down the front of your chest to your belly and your pelvis.
● Then, imagine it flowing up along your back, around your head and back to your chest.
● Repeat this loop 10 times.

Last thing at night
By Dr Buathon Thienarrom

TECHNIQUE: YIN BREATHING
● Inhale through the nose for four counts and hold.
● Imagine circulating the air up to the crown of your head, down the back of your head and through the back of your body to your bottom.
● Then, imagine it flowing up from your pelvis, through your belly and your chest, and up to the crown again.
● Exhale through the mouth for four counts.
● Repeat 10 times.

Boosting energy
By Dominique Antiglio

TECHNIQUE: THE PUMP
● Standing up, inhale through the nose for a count of four.
● Hold your breath and ‘pump’ your shoulders five times to get the blood circulating.
● Relax the shoulders and breathe out through the mouth for eight counts.
● Repeat three times.

Calming anxiety
By Dominique Antiglio

TECHNIQUE: THE TENSION RELAX
● First, breathe in and out naturally a few times to establish your rhythm.
● Take a long and slow inhalation through the nose.
● Hold the breath for four to five seconds, whichever feels most natural to you.
● Tense up the muscles in your body on that hold-breath.
● Exhale through the mouth vigorously, simultaneously releasing the muscles on this breath.
● Repeat three times.

Getting to sleep
By Dominique Antiglio

TECHNIQUE: THE SLEEP GATEKEEPER
● Close your eyes and bring focus to the breath.
● Take a steady, deep breath in through the nose, mouth closed, to the count of three to four. Feel your chest expanding and your diaphragm contracting.
● Exhale to double the length of time, opening the mouth slightly. Feel your chest contracting and your diaphragm expanding.
● When it starts to feel rhythmic, so you almost no longer need to count, every time you breathe in, think of a positive word, such as ‘recuperation’, ‘relaxation’ or ‘calm’.
● Focus on the sensations these words trigger throughout the body and let them go as you exhale.
● Repeat until you fall asleep.

Tools to help you breathe better

● READ Breathe Well (Kyle Books) by Aimee Hartley.
● DOWNLOAD The Breathing Zone app to access useful breathing exercises.
● VISIT breathguru.com for retreats, workshops and virtual breath-work classes.