Breathe better September lifts the lid on all things respiratory. 700,000 kiwis have a respiratory condition – that’s a lot, huh. Join me and thousands of other kiwis in the breathe better September challenge.

What’s the breathe better September challenge?

This month do something that will improve your lung health.


You could go for a walk (the sun is shining in Carterton as I”m writing), do some yoga or meditation. If you are of the sporty persuasion, go for a run, today.

Short on time?

Take a moment, right now, and breathe slowly and deeply for 10 breaths. Breathe in all the way into the bottom of your lungs.

When we are stressed, anxious or have a lot to get done we sometimes forget to breathe using all of our lung capacity and start to shallow breathe instead. Breathing this way uses our intercostal muscles rather than using our lungs and diaphragm. Shallow breathing can make us feel anxious because we are bringing less oxygen into our body. This is not the way to breathe, people!

Diaphragm based breathing is the optimal breathing style. Minimal effort, maximum oxygen. Simply breathe in through the nose allowing the breath to reach all the way down into the bottom of your lungs. As you do this you will notice your tummy expand. Don’t worry, nobody will see.

It’s just like when you blow up a balloon.

When you breathe out, breathe out through the nose and allow your tummy to deflate (just like when you let go of the neck of the balloon). You don’t need to focus on bringing your tummy back in. It will do this naturally.

No time for 10 breaths?

Breathe mindfully for 3. Here’s how:

  1. breathe in to the count of 7,
  2. hold for the count of 3,
  3. breathe out against a count of 10.