Channel your inner tiger with the 3-4-5 breathing technique

Published April 24th 2019

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If you were watching the Masters earlier this month, you might have noticed that when eventual winner Tiger Woods played the final hole, he looked a bit, well... out of it.

A steely glare came over his face and you could literally see his diaphragm responding as he concentrated on his breathing. That, says mindset coach Caroline Britton, is how he managed to take home the whole tournament.

“No matter what situation we are in, if we can learn to dissociate ourselves from the thoughts and the tricks that our minds can play on us, that's where success lies. Tiger Woods was using a combination of very clever breathing techniques alongside clear visualisations of him winning. A complete focus on what he was going to do.”

So, how can the rest of us copy Tiger and learn to breathe our way to success?

“The simple way to anchor yourself in the present is the 3-4-5 breath, which is just breathing in for three seconds, holding it for four seconds, and breathing out for five seconds,” says Britton. “That enables a lovely flow, with your diaphragm expanding and the deep breaths coming in. It grounds you in the moment.

“If you can try to integrate the 3-4-5 breath into your daily life, you should. I'd say set a timer on your phone, three times a day, morning, lunchtime and evening, for two minutes each. That's a really good start for anybody.”

According to Britton, if you can make the time to focus on your breath, you’ll feel the effects immediately. “Say you've got to do a presentation at work, then like any normal human being you start feeling anxious, you start going to this fear-projected future: ‘what if it goes wrong? What if they judge me? What if I make a mess of it?’

“You can use your breath to recognise that you are safe and fine and you can use your breath to pick what you want to focus on.”

If it works for Tiger Woods, it may just work for you.

Karen Staniland-Platt