Knowing how to breathe properly plays a big role in one’s well-being. I know this personally, because Susan Lugton, my physio, one day mentioned to me that I was shallow breathing. I wasn’t even aware of it. Susan teaches people how to breathe properly, using the diaphragm, and boy what a difference it has made to my life. Whenever I am feeling stressed, anxious or have a busy mind in the middle of the night, I bring my attention to my breathing and with that, all that anxiety dissipates. It is a life tool, that everyone should know about. Susan Lugton, is a wonderful and gifted physiotherapist and also teaches breathing. Susan has her own practise, Moving Well in Remuera Auckland(mobile 021 280 4335).

Here is an article that she shared with me. Have a read, it might just change your life.


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Have you ever wondered if there was something simple you could do when you’re lacking in energy, in pain or feeling anxious. There is. Simply tuning in to your breathing. It is simple but truly effective.

Breathing is the single most effective anti-stress medicine at our fingertips. Bringing awareness to your breathing is like shifting the gearstick from full throttle to neutral, allowing yourself to cruise along, deposit a little energy back into the tank! Apparently Mahatma Ghandi once said; “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

When our breathing becomes disordered for extended periods, the symptoms can be widespread and worrying. These can include neck and shoulder tension, headaches, chest tightness and pain, fatigue, feeling unrefreshed from sleep, anxiety, tingling in the hands, cold hands and feet, poor concentration, abdominal bloating, irritable bowel, shortness of breath, palpitations, difficulty getting a satisfying breath, sighing or yawning frequently. (these symptoms may also be signs of other conditions so check up with your doctor to rule out other conditions).

Breathing Booster:

Tune into your breathing to give yourself a great energy boost. The diaphragm is our primary breathing muscle, shaped like a parachute, moving gently down and up inside our abdominal cylinder. This pattern is hard wired from birth and is the most efficient way to breathe using only 3% energy, the best secret for improving low energy levels.

When we breathe in, our diaphragm moves down gently, displacing the belly contents outwards. When we exhale, the diaphragm returns to its resting position. For this to happen naturally, the abdomen region must be relaxed, not held in like a corset! The nose filters, warms and slows the air down so it is not irritable to the airways and works as a team with the diaphragm so tune into your nose when trying the following exercise.

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Try this breathing awareness exercise: lie down on the bed or floor, place a pillow under the knees and under your head, close your eyes and let your body go heavy into the floor or bed or grass outside. Let the sounds of outside come into your awareness, such as birds chirping, wind in the trees, lawns being mowed, hum of distant traffic. Now bring your awareness closer to you, it might be the sounds of your family in other rooms, ticking clock, hum of your laptop. Gently bring your attention to your body breathing for you, the rhythm of the in-breath and the out-breath. You can place your hand or a warm wheatbag on your belly to feel it rise when you inhale and relax back down when you exhale. An easy rhythm of inhaling for 2 and exhaling for 2-3 creates a nourishing experience. Simply bringing your attention to your breath without trying to change it, helps you move towards relaxation. Break your day up into thirds and try this breathing awareness after lunch and before 2pm to help boost your energy levels for the afternoon and evening.

Optimum sitting position:

Breathing awareness can also be done when you are sitting at the computer. Sometimes our postures and clothes can inhibit the diaphragm moving easily so when sitting to study wear loose clothing around your abdomen and relax the stomach muscles. The key here is to relax the thighs and stomach when you are sitting so that your diaphragm can breathe easily for you, whilst you are focused on your work. Holding your stomach in or wearing tight clothing will make you feel tired and tense, rather than relaxed and alert so let it go!

We are designed to move so when sitting for long periods, ensure you do these simple things to keep the joints and muscles moving well.

  • Turn your neck gently 5 times to the left and right
  • Gentle head nods as if you’re saying “yes” can keep the upper neck joints soft and relaxed
  • Stand up and gently arch backwards 5-10 times after 30-60 minutes of sitting to lubricate the lumbar spine
  • Lie down over a rolled up towel length ways along your spine to stretch out the middle back

Visit to find out more.

Moving Well, 120 Remuera Rd, Auckland. Ph: 09 5244858 or 021 280 4335