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Breathing Techniques for Mindfulness & Relaxation

Breathing Techniques for Mindfulness & Relaxation
Selph Health Studios is a space to rejuvenate and repair. Their holistic approach to health considers both the body and mind with a curated offering of treatments that address structural, emotional, nutritional and movement needs. We sat down with Movement Director, Amy Giuliano, who shared with us her favourite rituals and techniques for mindfulness and relaxation.


Amy Giuliano holds with her a sense of peace and calm, inspiring those around her to seek refuge within, whenever they may be feeling out of balance. Amy’s yoga and meditation classes aim to inspire, educate and provide a safe space for her students to explore their own connection with self. A firm believer in ‘change as the only constant’, Amy guides her students in developing their body-mind awareness to feel empowered in the everyday. She fuses traditional yogic philosophy with intuitive meditation techniques so the journey in meditation is always interesting and ever-changing, just like life.

What rituals or ceremonies do you use to stay grounded and present throughout the day?

In the morning, I always take some time out to feel my feet, connect to the ground beneath me, notice my breath, and allow a sense of calm to be felt; before I start to ‘do’. Too often we jump out of bed and get going with thoughts of what is to come. When I take the time to just ‘be’, even if it is only for a couple of minutes, I find my thoughts are more anchored throughout the day, stress levels reduce and I have an easy attitude for what’s to come.

What are your favourite yoga poses for calming the nervous system at the end of the day?

Anything that moves my spine, stretches hips, and relaxes the nervous system. I often open up the base of the feet to get the energy moving through the body, dangle my head below my heart to decompress the spine and release tension in my neck and my go-to is a hip opener. I am loving Deer Pose for something more gentle or Half Pigeon Pose to go slightly deeper into the outer hip release. When I feel connected to my body and present there, my nervous system instantly relaxes to a state of calm.

Amy wears the Tilly Jumpsuit in Black.

Do you have any tips for those wanting to become more present in their day-to-day?

Breathe deeply, through your nose; this brings you into your body. Smile often; it brings you into the now. Notice how you’re holding yourself; it keeps your mind connected to your body. Gently activate your spine muscles to sit upright: how’s your neck, your jaw, your shoulders? Self-inquire to what your body needs - how can you remedy what you do to your body throughout the day. Do you need to stretch and flop, or shake and activate?!

What are your tips for maintaining balance energetically?

We have an energy reserve which we are constantly giving from and receiving to, throughout the day. One of the best ways we can ensure this remains balanced is to move often, eat well, drink mindfully, laugh a little, and take time to rest in alertness. Sit back, feel your feet, open your eyes, and let your body just be. You will feel your body come into oneness, where the breath captures the attention of the mind, and the mind relaxes into the wonder of the body. Balance is a natural state for the body, you just need to allow it to be felt!

What yoga poses would you recommend for those sitting at a desk all day?

It's important to stretch around the spine so the nervous system can relax and your mind can change gears from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. Mix up your evening stretches to keep it interesting. If you want something more calming, try Childs Pose, followed by a Butterfly Pose with a side stretch and forward fold. If you want to get into the hips and spine try Seated Forward Bend, followed with Deer Pose or Half Pigeon Pose. If you need some balance, draw the energy through your body with a Toe Sit, take a seat and stretch into the side waist, then stand strong and find your focus with a Tree Pose variation.

Tell us about your evening rituals? How do you set yourself up for a restful night's sleep?

Healthy movement takes me out of my head and into the body. When I'm in the body I can be more present. When I'm more present, I can drop into a state of ease. When I get home I usually open up the house, windows and doors, light some incense and play some grounding tunes (Here’s some inspo if you’re looking for chilled yoga beats). I make sure I’m showered early so I have more time ‘on the other side of the evening’. In bed, my go-to is legs up the wall with belly breathing, or reclined butterfly pose. Works a treat to drop the nervous system ready for sleep.

Breathing Techniques for Mindfulness & Relaxation

Nadi Shodhana, Alternate Nostril Breath

When we are healthy, we alternate from right to left dominance approximately every 2-3 hours. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for rotating the breath. Anxiety can alter this natural rhythm and causes prolonged right nostril breathing. By changing nostrils on every exhale we bring the stress response back into balance. Left hand stays on your thigh, use your right hand to control the breath side to side, changing nostrils on each exhale. Thumb seals right nostril, inhale left, pause; ring finger seals left nostril, exhale right, pause; inhale right; seal, exhale left.

Explore the texture, depth, consistency of your breath. How it feels through the nose, the belly, diaphragm and lungs. Notice the pause between the inhale completely full and expanded, and the pause at the base of the exhale, nourished and at ease. Stay curious with your natural breath cycle for a few minutes.

Sama Vritti, Even Count Breath

You can do this one throughout the day when you need to refocus the mind and calm any anxiety in the body. Breathe low into the belly, 4 counts in, 4 counts out. Extend the exhale to count of six or eight to really calm the nervous system.

Set up a ritual of release at the end of your day. Light some incense or a candle so you can shift gears, stretch out your chest over a bolster or some cushions, let your mind focus on your breath wandering in and out, up and down the spine. Can you immerse your mind with your body to welcome your natural state of balance?

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