The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as the “relaxing breath,” is a simple yet powerful method that focuses on the rhythm of your breath.
It was popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned integrative medicine practitioner. The technique can be practiced virtually anywhere and at any time.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
Get Comfortable: Find a quiet place to sit.
You can close your eyes or keep them open, whichever feels more relaxing to you.
Position your tongue: Throughout the process, keep your tongue pointed toward the roof of your mouth, with the tip touching the back of your two front teeth.
Empty Your Lungs: Start by fully exhaling through your mouth, making a whooshing sound as you release all the air from your lungs.
Inhale Quietly Through Your Nose: Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose, silently counting to four as you breathe in. Feel your lungs expand as you fill them with air.
Hold Your Breath: After inhaling, hold your breath for a count of seven seconds.
During this pause, focus on the stillness and the sensation of having a lung full of air.
Exhale Completely: Slowly and steadily exhale through your mouth, making another whooshing sound, while counting to eight. Ensure that you release all the air from your lungs during this phase.
Repeat: This completes one cycle of the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Repeat this cycle three more times, for a total of four breath cycles.
Benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
Calms the Nervous System: By extending the exhalation phase and slowing down the breath, this technique stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and reduces the “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system.
Reduces Anxiety: Practicing the 4-7-8 technique regularly can help lower anxiety levels and prevent the release of stress hormones like cortisol.
Enhances Mindfulness: Focusing on the breath and counting during each phase of the technique encourages mindfulness, helping you stay in the present and alleviate worries about the past or future.
Improves Sleep: Incorporating the 4-7-8 technique into your bedtime routine can lead to better sleep quality by relaxing your mind and body before sleep.
Boosts Concentration: Practicing this technique can enhance your ability to concentrate and make clear decisions by calming your mind and reducing mental clutter.
Incorporating the 4-7-8 breathing technique into your daily life is a simple yet effective way to manage stress.
With just a few minutes of practice each day, you can harness the power of your breath to reduce stress and create a sense of calm and balance in your life.
I hope you found this useful. Click here to read our other post about ‘box breathing’.