For the cells in our bodies to operate optimally, we need oxygen. Try holding your breath, and see how long you can go!

But most of the time most of us are doing no more than half-breathing, in the top part of our lungs. So our cells are half-starved of oxygen. Notice how often if a knotty issue is being discussed at work, someone in the room will yawn. That's their brain crying out for more oxygen.

If we are to work optimally we need to pay attention to our breathing. A few deep breaths work wonders on the brain cells. Yoga and Pilates have much to teach us about breathing well. The first thing is to get old, stale air out. So breathe out as far as possible, and then breathe out some more! Then breathe in, deeply into the back and bottom of the rib cage - the part of the lungs that has the greatest capacity for expansion. For most of us this feels strange to begin with and may leave us feeling light-headed. That's the brain saying "whoopee!". Take deep breaths before and during a "difficult" task and see how much better it goes.

There's a further benefit to breathing deeply. We move our ribs and diaphragm, which in turn gets our lymph system working, shifting out toxins and cleaning up our cells so that we can operate more energetically. Our lymph has no pump to send it round the body (unlike the blood) and therefore needs our bones and muscles to be moving.

< Keeping energy high

We need to pay attention to our breathing if we are to work optimally