The 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath Exercise by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Conscious breathing takes various forms. Dr. Weil believes each variety can be a useful tool for achieving a desired mental or physical state. As the Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh puts it, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor“.
The 4-7-8 Breath (also known as the Relaxing Breath) is the perfect, portable stress antidote, as it puts the practitioner in a relaxed state almost immediately. As Dr. Weil demonstrates, It takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise.
1) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2) Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3) Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5) This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important.
If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
Learn more about breathing exercises that Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. recommends.
Plus, enjoy these free guided meditations to download and use anytime.