Richie Bostock, aka The Breath Guy, shares 3 breathing techniques to calm your system
What if I were to tell you that there was an easy way for you to consciously influence your nervous system, cardiovascular system and hormones so that within minutes you could create more energy than you would get from a shot of espresso? That you could think more clearly, sleep better and feel blissfully happy for no reason at all? If this wasn’t already crazy enough, what if I were to tell you that all you needed to do was take a few breaths for this world of possibility to open up to you?
Breath is the secret weapon that everyone has in their possession but very few people know how to use. Many ancient traditions, particularly in the East, have known this for centuries, but in the West the breath has been taken for granted as something that “just happens” to keep us alive. But now as modern science continues to advance, increasingly, research supports what ancient traditions have known for centuries: that the way we breathe can significantly impact our quality of life.
Breathwork is the science and art of becoming aware of your breathing and using it for a physical, mental or emotional benefit. Regardless of who you are and what you do, one or many forms of Breathwork is an essential tool to fulfilling your potential in becoming the happiest, healthiest and most high-performing version of you!
Breathing to calm your nerves
Here is a technique that gained popularity in the West when it was discovered that Navy SEALS were using it to calm their nerves. It’s called box breathing. The breath is broken down into four equal parts, like the sides of a square. The length of each part should be whatever feels comfortable to you – but a good place to start is five seconds.
- Start with empty lungs and breathe into your belly through your nose for a count of 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for a count of five.
- Exhale for a count of five.
- Hold your breath with empty lungs for a count of five.
- Repeat this pattern for at least five minutes, or until you have felt yourself calm down.
Breathing for energy
- I call this one “The Energiser Bunny” – the next time you are itching for that late afternoon coffee, save yourself the money and just breathe!
- Start seated or standing and exhale out completely.
- Take three quick and powerful inhales through the nose, progressively filling up your lungs (the length of the inhales are equal and on your final inhale your lungs should be completely full of air).
- Exhale out with a big sigh through your mouth.
- That completes one breath cycle. Aim to complete 36 breath cycles per minute, so each breath takes a little under two seconds to complete.
- Repeat this pattern for 1-2 minutes and notice the difference in how you feel.
- This breath may make you start to feel a little light headed. This is completely natural and everything will return to normal within a matter of seconds, except that you will now feel far more energised!
Breathing to decrease stress
This breath calms down the nervous system in times of stress. I call this technique “5pm Breathing” because 5pm is supposed to be that joyous moment where many of us get to knock off work, relax and let our hair down. It also stands for five breaths per minute and is designed to help you wind down and de-stress your internal systems.
- Start in a seated or lying position and put one or both hands over your belly button so that you can feel the movement of your abdomen.
- Inhale for four seconds through your nose and feel your hands rise or move outwards a few centimetres.
- Exhale for six seconds through your nose and feel your hands fall inwards a few centimetres. No need to empty your lungs all the way, just exhale slowly until your lungs feel comfortably empty, and hold your breath here for two seconds.
- That is one breath cycle. Repeat this breath cycle at least ten times, or as many times as you need to reach your desired state of relaxation.
Richie will be hosting the ‘Breathe In and Bliss Out with Breathwork’ session at this year’s lululemon Sweatlife Festival on the 22nd and 23rd June. lululemon Sweatlife Festival 2019 returns for its fourth year to London’s Tobacco Dock on 22nd and 23rd June. There will be sweaty, endorphin-boosting classes on offer from some of London’s top fitness and yoga studios, including Barry’s Bootcamp, Triyoga, Third Space, Kobox, Psycle, Crossfit, The Manor, UN1T and Engine Room, to name a few.
Tickets for lululemon Sweatlife Festival are available from at lululemon.co.uk/sweatlife, starting at £30. Exclusive Sweatlife Festival branded products will be on sale, from £100.