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Tips To Help You Breathe Better

Tania Graham-Brown is a qualified personal trainer, breathwork coach and founder / host of Soul Retreats in New Zealand. She talks about the importance of breathwork and shares 5 easy tips to help you breathe better and feel better.


It’s something we take for granted… Something we don’t even think about… Yet something we cannot live without. Breathing. There’s so much more to the breath. It’s incredible how much of an impact the right breathing techniques can make. You can increase your athletic performance, stretch your lungs, promote longevity, sleep better, stop snoring, get rid of exercise-induced asthma, feel less anxious and so much more – all from practising breathwork. Try out these simple tips to help you breathe better.



If this is the only tip you remember, you will be a whole lot better off. The nose is designed as our means to breathe, not our mouth. By breathing through the nose, we filter the air so that allergens, dust, bacteria, viruses etc don’t enter our bodies. Breathing through the mouth dries out the oral cavity and this can cause excess acids in the mouth which is detrimental to dental hygiene. Breathing through the nose also ensures the tongue stays in the correct position behind the teeth and sitting in the roof of the mouth. This means the jaw grows correctly and teeth appear in the correct place (hence teaching kids to breathe correctly is of paramount importance).

Nose breathing helps humidify the air as you breathe to bring it to body temperature so your lungs can use it more efficiently. Nose breathing also better regulates the amount of air entering the body and respiratory system. It mixes with nasal nitric oxide which creates better gas exchange in the lungs. This in turn means better uptake of oxygen around the body to optimise energy expenditure and overall better health. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator so it helps oxygen circulation around the body.

Extra benefits of nasal breathing (as if you need any more!) are that it reduces the chance of snoring, improves your lung volume, helps your diaphragm work properly, slows your breathing down, helps your immune system, and reduces the chance of developing allergies.





Generally these days a lot of us are living in a constant state of stress and engaging our sympathetic branch of our nervous system. Our automatic nervous system has two branches: Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (rest and digest). Whilst both have their benefits and time to be used, most of us are spending too much time in the fight or flight mode. This can lead to chronic stress and various related health concerns including increased anxiety, cardiovascular issues and the release of more adrenalin in the body.

There are many ways to create more balance between the two branches so we can flow easily between them, when we need to. The breath is the easiest way to do this. Through the breath you can control your stress response. By elongating our exhale so that it lasts longer than our inhale, we can immediately move into a calmer, more focused state.



To breathe better you want to be breathing from the diaphragm. This creates a low, deep breath. An easy way to practise is to lie on your back with a book over your stomach and as you breathe in push your stomach against the book. Alternatively, place two fingers from each hand just under your lower two ribs and as you breathe in push against your hands and fill the breath at the front, back and sides, so it’s a full 360° breath. It can feel odd at first, but becomes more normal over time. The diaphragm is key.

By breathing in this way as well as through your nose, you’ll already notice you’re breathing fuller breaths and fewer of them. The optimal respiratory rate is 6 breaths per minute. The goal is to slow down your breathing, and breathe quieter but full breaths.


Tips To Help You Breathe Better



Changing the way you breathe, teaching yourself how to live more calmly and with more focus and balance of your automatic nervous system takes practice and consistency. Initially, you have to do it consciously and intentionally in order for it to become a subconscious practice. Even five minutes each morning and night is a good start if you struggle to create new habits.

The great thing with breathwork is you can do it at any time of day. You can be standing, sitting, eyes open or eyes closed, so there’s no excuse not to start to pay attention to your breathing and slowly make changes. Many peoplemay not realise that they have a dysfunctional breathing habit. Sadly, it is something that has a direct impact and implication on your health and lifespan.



It’s incredible how quickly you can change your physiological state with the breath. When you’re next feeling anxious,breathe in through the nose and then take another inhale through the nose when you reach the top then let it out calmly softly and slowly through the mouth. Repeat 3 times and notice how much calmer you feel.

Another great one is box breathing. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4. Repeat this sequencefor five minutes. By including breath holds on the inhale and exhale, you’re tapping into your sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system so it creates a calm but alert state. These are two simple protocols that can elicit a change of state for the better.


Tania BreathworkIt is important to create healthy habits in your daily routine, including breathwork and taking your BOTANISTRY Blends. Tania likes to add our BOOSTING AMBERS immune support powder to her smoothies and nice cream bowls.

If you’re interested in learning more about breathwork, reach out to @taniagrahambrown on Instagram for more info. Tania also runs a variety of active fitness retreats in New Zealand under her brand Soul Retreats, which BOTANISTRY Blends have been a part of. Taking place throughout the year, the holistic retreats incorporate different fitness disciplines, recreational activities and functional breathwork. Find out more via the Soul Retreats website or @soulretreatsnz on Instagram.


Photo credits: @soulretreatsnz

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