Breath guru Alan Dolan explains the ins and outs of improving your breathing and, as a result, your health.
Familiarise yourself Take some time to get to know your breath better. Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your upper chest, close your eyes and take a big inhale through your nose, and let it out. Take note of which hand moved the most – the bottom or the top. Eighty per cent of us are upper chest breathers, 20 per cent belly breathers. Discovering which you are can help you make the most out of your breath
Upper chest breathers… The upper chest is associated with anxiety and stress. When you start breathing from your abdomen, it induces calm. Sit back at about 45° and make sure your neck is supported. Put your hands on your abdomen and breathe through the nose, imagining there is a balloon where your abdomen is. Take a deep inhale, inflating the 'balloon’ . Feel the abdomen rise. Then let it go, and repeat. Keep doing this for five minutes. If you find it an effort, put a book flat on your abdomen for a bit of weight, and breathe to push the book away. I use Harry Potter because it’s so heavy. Read more