Tailoring your course
If you'd like to tailor your course to a particular health condition which responds well to breath-work, then see the recommendations below. I'd suggest you try all the exercises at least once before repeating these recommended ones more frequently.
Blocked, stuffy or runny nose
Relieving congestion, sneezing or runny nose from rhinitis and hayfever can make a huge improvement in enjoying your sport. You'll need to keep a tissue near for these exercises!
- Nose unblocking
- Nose cleaning with a neti pot
- Humming bee breath
- Try combining unblocking & humming together for a super-boost!
These are all described in Section 1: Breath awareness
Breathless, wheezing and coughing
The key to relieving exercise-induced airway irritation and inflammation is warming up your lungs, and then exercising with your mouth closed. In order to be comfortable with this, it helps to boost your tolerance to 'air hunger'. The best exercises for you are;
- Lung warm-ups - in particular box breathing (Section 2)
- Walking breath-holds (Section 3)
- Breathe light walk, fast walk and jog (Section 3)
Anxiety, stress, high blood pressure
To relieve anxiety, it can help to practice slow, paced breathing regularly. This has also been shown to reduce blood pressure. Section 4 will be especially beneficial for you.
- Slow, paced breathing - eventually aiming to do 6 breaths per minute
If you experience panic attacks then the best tactic to stop the hyperventilation is to stop breathing momentarily - short breath-holds like with the recovery exercise. I recommend practicing regularly when you feel OK, so that it will be familiar to use when you really need it.
- Recovery breathing with 2 - 5 second breath holds
- Box breathing with 3 or 4 second breath holds (described as a lung warm-up in Section 2)