Abdominal breathing

Abdominal breathing is the type of breathing you use in yoga. Babies breathe this way, as do you when you’re asleep. It involves letting the air you breathe in push out your abdomen.

  • close your eyes and make yourself comfortable
  • place both hands gently on your tummy so you can feel the rise and fall of your breath and make sure you’re doing it correctly
  • if possible, breathe in and out through your nose, or, if you prefer, in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • if you have a cold, you may need to breathe in and out through your mouth
  • imagine you have a round balloon in your stomach you want to inflate
  • as you breathe in, imagine the air going down through your lungs and continuing into the stomach, fully inflating the balloon, as you exhale, the balloon deflates

Exercise: Energy breathing.
This exercise brings more oxygen into your body and energises. If you do this and also have a big glass of water, you’ll be able to avoid the afternoon energy slump and not need that cup of coffee.

Do this exercise standing rather than sitting.

  • breathe in for five counts
  • hold for 20
  • breathe out for 10
  • repeat three times

This technique is good for creating energy and it is best to do outside or near the window to get some cool fresh air. It is also good to do as a first thing in the morning or before workout.

Exercise: Square breathing.

  • breathe in for four counts
  • hold for four counts
  • breathe out for four counts
  • hold for four counts

This is a yoga-style breathing technique. It focuses your mind on the breathing (and not the issue or problem), calms your body and reduces your heart rate. This is an excellent technique to do anywhere.

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