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Breathing Techniques for Stress

Created by Rhea Sheedy (Founder of Ballet Fusion)

September 22, 2021, London, United Kingdom

Breathing is a necessary part of life and something we often do subconsciously. When we breathe in air, blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Studies have shown that improper breathing can upset this exchange and contribute to anxiety and other emotional and physical disturbances.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected our mental wellbeing with not-for-profit organization, Kaiser Family Foundation, reporting that 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder since the pandemic, a share that has been largely consistent, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.

Whether you're returning to the office, meeting up with friends, or simply being in a crowded space many of us will be feeling the strain on their mental health as we deal with re-entry and other anxieties. Luckily, our breathing is a remarkable tool that is free and easy to use and can help us regain control over our emotions. By focusing on the rhythm, rate, and depth of breath, we can create a sense of calmness.

We speak to Rhea Sheedy, trained in the Royal Academy of Dance style and founder of Ballet Fusion, a unique fitness fusion company built upon traditional ballet techniques with elements of pilates, yoga and fitness. She has created a 6-minute breathwork routine (with high-resolution videos demonstrating each exercise) which can be done anywhere and by anyone (even children!), helping to calm us in anxiety-inducing situations.

6-Minute Breathwork Routine

Alternate nostril breathing (1 minute)

  1. Lift your right hand up toward your nose and exhale completely. Place your right thumb gently over your right nostril.

  2. Inhale through your left nostril and then cover the left nostril with your index finger.

  3. Open the right nostril and exhale through this side. Inhale through the right nostril and then cover this nostril.

  4. Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side before repeating.