Se­ri­ously, how many times have you been told to “just breathe” when some­thing ma­jorly up­sets you, or you’re stressed at work? Thing is, “just breathe” really isn’t as easy as it sounds. An ex­pert tells Clara How how to get it right.

Herworld (Singapore) - - NEWS -

It’s not as easy as it seems. An ex­pert tells you how to do it right.

Deep breath­ing is good for you – it sends your body into a more re­laxed state, re­leases tension, and gives you clar­ity.

“When used at the right time (for ex­am­ple, when your body sends stress sig­nals – like a rac­ing heart or clenched jaw), deep breath­ing can stop you from los­ing your tem­per,” says school coun­sel­lor Camille Ko.

“Many peo­ple try to breathe deeply when they’re at 10/10 on the anger scale,” Camille says. “But really, you should do it at 5/10 on the scale. Once you’ve reached the peak, you can’t think straight or calm your­self down.” That’s why you need to be aware of your body’s re­sponses, so you can catch your­self. IT’S ALL IN THE BELLY Good deep breath­ing comes down to two things: breath­ing from the base of your lungs, and hav­ing longer ex­ha­la­tions than in­hala­tions, says Peggy San­tosa, a yoga in­struc­tor who teaches pranayama (the con­trol of breath) at The Yoga School. “When you ex­hale longer [than you in­hale], it sends a mes­sage to your brain that you’re switch­ing from an ac­tive to a re­laxed mode.” In short, when you take brief, shal­low breaths, your mind tells your body to re­main in “ght mode” – a big no if you’re try­ing to stay calm.

You might not re­alise it, but most of the time, you breathe us­ing just the up­per part of your lungs. That means the breath orig­i­nates from your chest, and is shal­lower. The most ef­fec­tive way of draw­ing deep breaths, says Peggy, is through di­aphrag­matic breath­ing, col­lo­qui­ally known as “belly breaths”. She breaks it down: STEP 1 Put one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly – do­ing this helps you bet­ter feel the move­ments. Sit up straight and re­lease tension in your belly by push­ing it out­wards. The hand on your belly should pick up this move­ment. STEP 2 Take a deep breath as you ex­pand your belly. When you in­hale, you should feel the hand on your stom­ach mov­ing out­wards, as your di­aphragm and ribcage ex­pand. Hold your breath for six counts. STEP 3 Re­lease your breath, ex­hal­ing slowly for seven counts. At the end of the counts, you should feel as if that breath has been en­tirely ex­pelled. Your body should feel more re­laxed, and your mind should be clearer. STEP 4 Re­peat un­til you’re com­pletely calm.

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