Relaxing Breath (also known as 4-7-8 breathing)
This is an exercise, promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil, and is often called 4-7-8 breathing as referenced by the mental count of each step. The mental counting forces you to focus on your breath, so this is a good exercise if you’re new to any type of meditation practice.
You can do this exercise in any position, but the optimal body position is sitting with your back straight with feet on the floor. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper from teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. If you find it difficult to keep your tongue in that position while exhaling, try pursing your lips slightly to force the air around the tongue without dislodging it.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh or hah sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while counting to 4.
- Hold your breath while counting to 7.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh or hah sound while counting to 8.
The 4-7-8 cycle is considered one breath. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
This exercise is great for relaxation as well as for treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks and insomnia.