It's the one thing that comes naturally to us, but apparently we're doing it wrong!
Learning how to breathe is the latest celebrity trend, reportedly practiced by Oprah and Gwyneth. It’s said that breathing more effectively can change all aspects of your life, helping to reduce stress, aid sleep and improve focus. So we’ve enlisted the help of breath coach Rebecca Dennis to show us how to breathe our way to a better life.
The breathing techniques
BREATH AWARENESS: We are conditioned to hold our bellies in as adults. The best place to start to become aware of your breath is to put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. As you inhale, push your belly out. As you exhale, the belly goes in. Lots of people will find that they take ‘vertical breaths’ where their shoulders and ribs move up rather than out. Visualise the breath going in and out, as opposed to up and down.
BOX BREATH: Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and repeat. This technique is used in the SAS for highly stressful situations to focus and tune in with each other.
BREATH OF FIRE: Instead of reaching for a coffee or a sugar hit during your mid-afternoon slump, this technique can help make you feel energised. Breathe in and pull your tummy in. Exhale with short quick emphasised breaths in rounds of 30 continuous breaths whilst still keeping the belly pulled in.
SNIFF, SNIFF, SIGH: Exactly as it sounds, inhale twice through your nose and exhale with a big sigh. Similar to ‘breath of fire’, this technique can help to energise you.
CONSCIOUS, CONNECTIVE BREATHING: This is an advanced breathing technique which is not advised as a starting exercise for those new to breathwork. It involves breathing without any pauses between the inhale and exhale. This is best done lying down and has a very relaxing effect.