It’s the morning of your wedding. Hopefully you’ve woken up after a good night’s sleep. You’re starting your day off with a healthy breakfast. Your bridal party has arrived, hair and makeup is underway and you’re about to transform into a blushing bride. At this point, even the most chillzilla brides may start to feel nervous. Maybe even anxious.
Before you start to calm your nerves with a glass of bubbly, there’s one essential thing you need to do instead. And chances are, you’re doing it wrong.
“I would say 99% of people I see are breathing in a way that is often related to stress and anxiety,” says Richie Bostock a Breathwork specialist known as "The Breath Guy". “And the crazy thing is that, even if, in that moment there’s no logical reason for them to feel that way, because they’re breathing this way, they’re going to create a feeling of stress and anxiety as a base level anyway.”
Four years ago Richie discovered breath work when he was looking into lifestyle changes his dad could make when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that has no cure.
When a combination of breathing, cold showers and diet changes managed to ease his father’s symptoms, Richie spent two years travelling around the world learning different breathing techniques.
Today he runs breath workshops around London, teaching people different breathing techniques that are designed to break bad breathing habits and alter your emotional state.
So what is the right way to breathe? According to Richie, there are four main things to focus on:
- Breathing slower: you should aim to breath somewhere between 9 to 12 breaths per minute
- Breathing lower: instead of breathing up in your chest which is neurologically linked to stress in the body, Richie recommends breathing in your lower body using your diaphragm, and lower intercostal muscles in the right way.
- Breathing through your nose: according to Richie, there are a lot of benefits of breathing through your nose; it humidifies the air, it warms it up and it filters the air as well. So breathing through your nose creates a beautiful environment for your lungs.
- Letting go of the exhale: when breathing out, it's important to let go of all the muscles that bought the air in rather than using your muscles to force the air out. By doing this, it means you’re using less energy to breathe.
“The problem for brides is, when you’re sucking in your stomach, it means you’re not able to engage your diaphragm in the right way, which means the breath is going to go up into your chest, which creates a stressful breath,” says Richie.
A technique Richie recommends for your wedding morning is box breathing, which is used by navy seals before they go into battle to calm their nerves. The breath includes four parts, an inhale, a pause, an exhale and a pause again. Each part needs to be the same length of time - Richie recommends around say 4 to 6 seconds for each. So breathing in for 6, hold for 6, breathe out for 6 and hold for 6 again.
“Box breathing is great for brides on their wedding morning, because it calms the nervous system and instills a feeling of control,” advises Richie. “Because there’s a difference between calming your nerves and trying to relax. Relaxation is a letting go kind of feeling, whereas calming your nerves might be more like trying to feel in control.”
Want to practice getting it right before the big day? Find out more about Richie's breath work classes.
News & Advice