Diaphragmatic breathing

How to breathe using your diaphragm. Place one hand on your chest, and one on your abdomen just below belly button. Inhale through the nose, and draw air in and down into lower 1/3 area, pushing diaphragm down and belly button out. As you slowly exhale through nose or mouth, draw your belly button in towards spine. 

Breathing woodchop

Inhale as you lift your arms above your head; exhale and swing your arms down towards your feet. Aim to fully breathe out at the bottom. Hold for 1-2 seconds and repeat. 

 

Relaxation breathing

Lie with your feet raised on a chair or bench; inhale through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. Aim for 1-2 mins but really there is no strict time frame here – just until you feel relaxed 🙂 See Diaphragmatic Breathing video for more info on breathing technique.

Breathing squats

Stand with feet hip width apart, relax your shoulders, soft knees, place your arms in front or down by your sides. Inhale slowly through your nose, then exhale and sit back and down into a squat, as low as you comfortably can. 4 seconds on the way down, pause, 4 seconds on the way up. Start with 10-20 reps and build up to 100. 

Upper body mobility

Prone to child's pose

Breathe in as you push off your hands, exhale and lift your hips up and sit back on your heels. Stretch your hands ahead of you on the floor, inhale and ‘pull’ your body back up and then lie onto your front again; exhale fully. 

Superman

Start on all fours – with your hands beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips. Inhale – draw in your belly button – and lift one arm (leading with your thumb) and the opposite leg (as straight as possible). Hold for 2-3 seconds. Slowly bring arm and leg back down, and repeat opposite side. Aim for 10-20 repetitions.

 

Dynamic Superman

Start on all fours – with your hands beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips. Inhale – draw in your belly button – and lift one arm (leading with your thumb) and the opposite leg (as straight as possible). Exhale bring your elbow and knee towards each other under your body, and past if possible. Feel like you are crunching your abs in that final part of the movement. Repeat 8-10 each side at breathing pace. 

 

Energy push

Stand with feet firmly planted and knees soft. Lift your arms straight ahead of you, palms facing away. Inhale, bring your hands in towards you and ‘draw’ in new breath (positive energy). Exhale, push the old breath (used up energy) away with the opposite movement. Focus on this coming from deep inside your core to help cleanse your system of stale energy and thoughts (and help gently massage your digestive organs).  Repeat slightly rotating your torso as your push and pull; avoid over rotating your spine. Build up to 20 reps at a slow breathing pace.  

Prone cobra

Lie face down with arms behind you, rotating hands in (so thumbs facing up). Inhale through your nose, raise your upper torso up, and draw shoulder blades together. Be careful not to lift head too high – eyes should be looking just down and just ahead. Hold for 2-3 seconds and lower back down as you exhale. Aim for 8-10 reps. 

Leg tuck

Lie onto your back, with your knees bent. Inhale through your nose, and pull your legs in towards your chest – open your legs if you need to pull them in closer. As you exhale, return your legs to the floor. Repeat 8-10 times at a slow pace with a natural pause between breaths. 

Alternating leg drop

Start on your back again for this exercise with bent knees, and keep your feet together throughout (I recommend no shoes). Let your legs drop gently to one side, then the other. Allow the energy of the lowering leg assist the other leg as it rises back up. Return to the start one leg at a time, aiming for 10 each side (focusing on slow controlled breathing throughout).