Once you have become comfortable with Blowing out the candle, then you can start to add in a gentle head movement as you breathe in. This is to help to train your body not to tighten at the front of the neck as you inhale. This is another step on the way to the Brügger Exercise.

The movement you want to introduce is a gentle retraction of the head. A retraction of the head is moving the whole head backwards as if you were wanting to give yourself a double chin. A retraction is not lifting your chin and tipping your head backwards.

You are also looking to introduce a very gentle movement as you want to try to not use the muscles at the front of the neck, which can become very over active with some breathing patterns.

Gauging how much effort:
To get a sense of the amount of effort you want to use place your fingers lightly on the front of the neck either side of the windpipe.
Firmly retract the head and you will, hopefully, feel the muscles tighten under your fingers. Relax the head.
Now ever so slightly retract the head, hopefully the neck muscles remain quiet under your fingertips. This is the amount of effort you want to use in the breathing exercise.  I like to imagine that someone is holding a feather at the back of my head and i just want to bend the tip of the feather as I retract my head, rather than squashing the whole feather.

The Breathing exercise:

  1. Breathe out fully through pursed lips, just as you did with the Breathing Exercises – Part 1.
  2. Pause for a count of one after the exhale.
  3. Gently retract the head as you inhale through your nose. This is the only difference to the first part, and it is with the very gentle motion you practiced above.
  4. Repeat for the duration of the breathing exercise.

How long:
Do this exercise for as long as you have been doing the previous exercises, so ideally 5 minutes. It might be helpful to do a couple of breathing cycles without the head retraction first, and then add it in.

How often:
Same as before, for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening and then if you notice your breathing has become shallow during the day.

What to do next:
When you are comfortable with this you can progress to the Full Brügger Exercise

Chaitow, L., Bradley, D, & Gilbert, C (2014) Recognizing and Treating Breathing
Disorders: A multidisciplinary approach (2nd Edition), Churchill Livingstone



Here’s a short video taking you through the breathing technique.