4-7-8 Breathing

Hi everyone,


This week I’m showing you a breathing technique I use regularly. Harlem’s too young to teach this to but I think it’s something all my adult readers could benefit from. And if you have older kids who know how to hold their breath for a sustained period, give this a try with them.


I learned this from my yoga teacher, Vickie Russell Bell. It’s easy to remember and do on the go. I use it when I notice I’ve been holding my breath at work, on my walk to the bus stop, in the car, really whenever and wherever.  You can also use it if you have anxiety, when you’re having trouble falling asleep, when something upsetting happens, any time you want to pause before you react. It’s a great tool to have whenever you need to come back to your own breath, pause, and calm down your nervous system.


The gist:


  • Inhale for 4 counts.
  • Hold for 7 counts.
  • Exhale for 8 counts.
  • Repeat for 4 rounds.



The whole method:


  • Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise.
  • Exhale with a swoosh to empty your lungs. You’re exhaling around your tongue, which might feel awkward at first. You can do it silently too and still get the benefits if you’re somewhere where you can’t be making swooshing sounds.  
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 counts.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  • Exhale for 8 counts with a swoosh.
  • Repeat 3 more cycles for a total of 4 rounds.
  • Breathe normally. Notice any sensations you feel.



Dr. Weil says the more regularly you do this breath, the better results you’ll see. He recommends doing it at least twice a day. You can do it more often, but no more than 4 cycles at a time. You’ll begin to feel powerful benefits after doing this twice a day for 8 weeks.


I haven’t practiced this breathing technique so consistently, but I’m going to give it a try now and incorporate it into my daily meditation routine and before I go to sleep. I’ll check back in in 8 weeks and let you know how it goes. I’m curious to hear if you do it too and how you feel!




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