Yoga expert Angie Newson guides us through the best ways to exhale with a little more efficiency
“Most of us don’t take much notice that we are breathing all day every day,” says Pilates and yoga extraordinaire, Angie Newson . “We simply do it naturally, without thinking.
"However, by breathing deeply, controlled, consciously and with effortlessness, a number of wellness benefits can be achieved – not just for our bodies, but more importantly, for our minds. As a beauty bonus, good, steady breathing also enables us to soften and become light and open – so our facial, neck and shoulder muscles release and wrinkles and fine lines can naturally diffuse. Good breathing can also help you run faster, workout more efficiently, swim further, improve sleep, aid smooth digestion and control our emotions – the list goes on and on.”
Here are four simple breathing exercises that will enhance your awareness of your breathing, which will in turn lead to a stronger heart and lungs, a boosted immune system, more clarity, vitality and vibrancy. So, whether you’re walking, working, chatting with friends or even eating, get into the habit of taking a moment to notice how you are breathing - start now and #StartBetter .
1. Set time aside each day – even if it’s just for a few minutes to bring your inner awareness to the breath. You don’t need to sit in a yoga lotus pose, you can sit up in bed, or sit tall in a chair. Close your eyes and take your inner awareness to your inhale and exhale – consciously breathing in for a count of four and breathing out for a count of six. You can even do this whilst waiting in the queue at the supermarket!
2. Laying on your back, have the knees bent and the feet hip distance apart. Place your hands on your rib cage, with fingers towards the centre line of your trunk. Inhale deeply into the side and back ribs (the bra line area) and feel your hands move slightly away from each other. As you exhale, allow the abdominal muscles to deepen and soften as the hands move closer towards each other again. A little trick is to bring on a fake yawn and feel the sensations of the ribcage when the in breath fills the lungs.
3. Standing tall, inhale deeply, filling the lungs fully from the bottom to the middle to the top of the lungs, reaching and stretching the arms out to the sides and up. As you exhale, completely empty the lungs and slowly bring the arms down, deepening the abdominals in and up. Repeat this 5 times to warm up and energise the body.
4. Laying on your back, rest your hands over your belly and as you inhale, allow the belly to gently rise and imagine a golden, warm light filling your whole being. As you exhale allow the belly to softly fall and imagine toxins and old waste leaving your body.
This feature was written in partnership with Clinique. #StartBetter.