Here’s how to practice 4-7-8 breathing techniques
Based on the pranayama breathing exercises, an ancient practice of controlling and regulating the breath, performing 4-7-8 breathing techniques have proven to lessen stress and relax the body. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, this exercise is referred to as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system” and has even helped some people fall asleep in just one minute.
The scientific evidence for this technique is scant, but there’s a wealth of anecdotal information that suggests that this sort of relaxation practice is soothing and may help out with a full night’s rest. Slowly easing yourself into the exercise, start off practicing the 4-7-8 breathing techniques twice a day, and in four sets in a row.
We’ve provided quick and simple steps to help you start off.
- Find a spot to sit upright in comfort.
- Keep tongue pressed up on the back of upper teeth.
- Exhale completely through the mouth and around the tongue, making a “whoosh”sound.
- Close mouth and breathe through nose and count to four.
- Hold breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale fully through the mouth while generating the whoosh sound for eight seconds.
- As just like that, one set is complete. Beginners are recommended to practice three more sets, while more advanced users should practice a total of eight sets.
So when is the best time to utilize 4-7-8 breathing techniques? Since this is a relaxation practice, it’s a good exercise to partake in whenever the body’s stress levels are at a high. For example, those who have trouble sleeping, have anxiety, or are dealing with fight-or-flight situations are highly advised to learn this technique. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, and improving concentration.
Now how does this all work? Our autonomic nervous system is in charge of our body’s automatic processes, including digestion and heartbeat. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are the two components of this system, and by engaging your parasympathetic nervous system, the breathing exercise helps calm the body.
One last thing to add is to set yourself a reminder to practice the 4-7-8 breathing techniques throughout the day.