Health & Fitness - - Stress-free Summer -

‘Med­i­tat­ing can be hard when you’re stressed. I of­ten find it hard to qui­eten my thoughts, so I try mind­ful breath­ing in­stead,’ says Kaia Ro­man, au­thor of The Joy Plan: How I took 30 Days to Stop Wor­ry­ing, Quit Com­plain­ing, and Find Ridicu­lous Hap­pi­ness (Source­books, £25.99). Ac­cord­ing to the Har­vard Health Blog, deep, slow breath­ing is the old­est, best-known tech­nique to de­crease stress, and may help lower blood pres­sure.

Square Breath: Breathe in to a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four, breathe out to a count of four, and wait for a count of four be­fore breath­ing again.

Sphere Breath: Put your fin­ger­tips to­gether to form a sphere with your two hands. As you in­hale, in­flate the sphere. As you ex­hale, flat­ten it. Imag­ine your belly fill­ing with air as your hands form a sphere.

Shoul­der Roll Breath: Take a deep breath in through your nose as you roll your shoul­ders up to your ears. Roll your shoul­ders down as you breathe out through your mouth. Re­peat slowly in a con­tin­u­ous move­ment.

Moun­tain Breath: Stand and, as you in­hale through your nose, raise your arms as high as you can and bring your palms to­gether over your head. Imag­ine you’re as tall as a moun­tain. Ex­hale through your mouth, bring­ing your palms to­gether in front of your chest.

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