There are many breathing techniques such as Ujjayi pranyama, Kapalabhati or Nadi Sodhana. With a less exotic name, but just as effective, you have the 4-7-8 breath.
This is a simple breathing exercise that can help you reduce stress and promote relaxation and is very effective if you suffer from anxiety
Why is it called 4-7-8?
Also called the “relaxing breath,” this technique is a deep breathing exercise where you inhale (count 4), hold your breath (count 7), and exhale (count 8).
Especially by Andrew Weil, a doctor from America, this breathing exercise became very well known. It is an exercise that helps regulate the hormone cortisol. Cortisol stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. And like other breathing exercises, this breathing technique activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which ensures relaxation and recovery after an action.
What does the 4-7-8 breathing exercise help with?
With daily practice, this technique can do the following for you after a few weeks:
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Lowers the heart rate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves digestion
- Improves circulation
- Improves sleep
- Helps control food cravings
- Helps control emotional reactions
How often should you practice this breathing technique?
To really benefit from this breathing exercise, you should do it at least 2 times a day with a maximum of 4 breathing cycles. So, 4 times a round of 4-7-8.
If it feels good, you can increase it to 8 breath cycles after a month. But never more than 8 cycles each time.
Know, that it can take up to 4-6 weeks before you really notice the physical changes mentioned above.
This breathing technique is really a practice that you should do daily.
This is how you do the 4-7-8 breathing technique
It is a super simple technique that really takes little time and can be done anywhere, anytime.
- Sit comfortably with a straight back and close your eyes.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and hold it there throughout the exercise
- First, exhale completely through your mouth, making a sort of “whoosh” sound
- Breathe in gently through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold your breath for 7 counts
- Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8, making a strong “whew” or “whoosh” sound
- This is one breath.
- Repeat this cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
If you have trouble with the number of seconds, just speed up your count, but stick to the ratio of 4:7:8
When not to do this breathing technique and are there any risks?
Although very good results are achieved, and it is absolutely not dangerous, this technique is not a substitute for professional medical treatment for anxiety or other health problems.
Also, if you suffer from breathing problems, asthma or any other medical condition or if you are pregnant, it is wise to consult your doctor before doing this exercise.
Let's get started!
What can help you is to schedule fixed times per day. With one last breath cycle just before going to sleep.
If you like, you can watch a YouYube video of Dr. Weil in which he briefly explains what this breathing technique entails and shows you how to do it.
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