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Breathing to Relax

Breathing is something we used to relax all the time whether it is obvious or not! ‘Count to ten and take deep breaths’ is a phrase you hear so commonly when wanting to calm someone down. It is a skill and a secret in the sporting world used to relax anywhere and everywhere, whether it is before a big swimming race, just in training or when to trying to wind down and rest. Want to give this a go yourself to relax your body and feel better? Try this easy and simple breathing exercise to give yourself that sense of calm when you need it most.
  1. Before you start this exercise don’t drink or eat for a couple of hours as this will put extra pressure on your body.
  2. Lie down flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat down on the bed or whichever surface you are lying on.
  3. Breathe in through your nose (with your mouth closed) to fill your lungs half way and hold your breath for a few seconds.
  4. As your stomach rises inhale further so your ribs rise too giving you full lungs without feeling the need to strain.
  5. Breathe out with your mouth wide open making a smile and show off all your teeth both top and bottom rows.
  6. Make the ‘haaahh’ sound (don’t use your voice to make this sound just by heavy breathing.)
Repeat this process for a minimum of 5 minutes and for a maximum of 20 minutes then relax deeply as you finish.  If you find it hard to keep going for this amount of time or get distracted easily then try having someone with you to keep you motivated, watch the clock for you and help you to relax and switch off from the world. This person can help to eliminate surrounding factors that you don't need to deal with at the time. Don’t make any big movements once you have finished this routine – keep stretches and yawns small and talk as little as possible for a while. This will helps you to feel the great sensation of ‘streamings’ which feels like tingling all over your body for a few minutes after you have completed this. Smoking is a huge miss for athletes and swimmers and is not what I’m recommending, however when smokers head out for 5 minutes out in the fresh air why not head out too and carry out your breathing exercises? Step away from the smoking area and rest on the grass in the sunshine this summer if you’re having a stressful day at work to complete a small 5 minute routine. This technique is a favourite with yoga teachers, singers and many athletes who need a top respiratory system for their activities and to feel relaxed at certain time. So give it a go yourself and relax wherever you are!

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