Health & Wellbeing

Beat stress like a yoga pro

It’s possible!
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Not much rattles Jean Hall, yoga instructor and the author of Breathe: Simple Breathing Techniques for a Calmer, Happier Life (Quadrille, $14.99). So next time you’re stuck in killer traffic, try this. “Release pent-up feelings by breathing in slowly and fully through your nose, pausing and retaining the breath for a moment or two,” she says.

Slowly exhale through your mouth then, on your next inhalation, hold the breath for a little longer and exhale with a long steady ‘haaaa’ sigh, releasing any tension. Do this three more times but instead of sighing, softly blow out through your mouth as if you’re blowing dust from the surface of your mind.

Repeat three times again, ‘hissss’ing out like a snake as you breathe out irritation and anger. Once you feel a sense of release, let your breathing relax back to its natural flow. And hope that traffic does the same!


Rare moment to yourself? Make the most of it by lying on the floor, inhaling and stretching long, reaching your arms out by the sides of your head. “On your next exhalation, bend your right leg, taking your hands to your right knee,” says Hall.

“Softly hug it in and ease the knee down towards your body, letting the breath empty completely from your lungs.” On your next inhalation, lower your right leg and stretch it long to the floor.

Then on the exhalation, repeat the sequence with your left leg. Continue to move with your breath in this way a few more times, then rest your body, releasing into the floor happier and more relaxed.


Time to nix nerves ahead of that presentation. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides and knees soft, instructs Hall. On your inhalation, slowly raise your arms up and out, gathering any feelings that hold you back or make you doubt yourself, and begin drawing them up to the sky.

On the exhalation, turn your palms down, lowering your arms in front of you. Let those gathered feelings flow down and out of your body. Repeat this sequence twice more, mindfully gathering and clearing. Next, slowly raise your arms on an in-breath again—this time, gently gathering and acknowledging positive feelings, qualities and emotions.

Let them flow into you as you lower your arms. Do this twice then, on a third time, bring your arms down with a slow, steady exhalation to seal these qualities inside you. Repeat twice and stand quietly for a few moments. Good to go? Attagirl. Now crack on!

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