Breath and movement


Practicing breath and movement help with fear. To give everyone something concrete to work on and to help you start with breathing and movement exercises, here are the basics.



In this exercise the movement takes as long as your breathing cycle. Linking your breathing to your movement has an impact on how you feel. It helps against the habit of holding your breath during exertion. Make sure the breathing feels comfortable. There is no need to push, hold or strain.

You will use exercise 1: TEN and you will link the rhythm of the breath to the pressing up or lowering down in a pushup or squat.

  • Breathe in for 5 counts while pushing up, breathe out for 5 counts while lowering down.
  • 6/4 ,then 7/3, then 8/2, then 9/1, 8/2, 7/3, 6/4 and back to 5/5.

Then, we turn it around.

  • Breathe in for 4 counts while pushing up, breathe out for 6 counts while lowering down.
  • 3/7, 2/8, 1/9, 2/8, 3/7, 4/6 and back to 5/5.

This cycle takes a total of 17 pushups or squats, and the time under tension is 170 seconds (or three minutes). That is more then enough load to trigger an adaptive response, maybe even too much. Feel how far is doable. Push up from your knees, or squat to the ground if you have to. If you have the range of motion and strength to use the whole range, then use it or lose it.


During walking or biking, count the rhythm of your steps or the turning of the pedals. Count howmany steps or cycles you inhale and exhale. The rhythm that works for you is dependent on your stride length or gear. Begin for instance with a 5 step in, 5 step out rhythm. If this feels good, then add a ‘waiting’ phase (see SQUARE BREATHING); 5 step in, 2 steps waiting, 5 steps out, 5 steps in, 3 steps wait, 5 steps out, etcetera. Experiment and hold the rhythm that feels good for you.

Research shows that a rhythm of 4 counts in, 7 count wait, 8 count out helps people to fall asleep quickly. During walking and biking it will be a different rhythm that makes you calm or focused. Find out what works for you and put it in your self-care toolbox.