4-7-8 breathing is a simple yogic technique that can lower stress, anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure, and assist with digestion and sleep. It’s free, takes almost no time, and requires no equipment. How’s that for good value?
Learn 4-7-8 breathing with Dr. Andrew Weil in this 3-minute video:
Dr. Andrew Weil is a leading teacher and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Some of the best educated integrative medicine physicians in the country have been trained as fellows in his program at the University of Arizona. I’m grateful to him for his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine, a glossary of health conditions which I referred to constantly as a young mom (ear infections… sore throat… steam inhalation… healing touch…)
Here are the instructions written out for your convenience:
- Place your tongue in the yogic position, touching the tip of your tongue to the ridge behind your upper front teeth. Try to keep it there the whole time.
- Breathe in quietly through your nose to a count of 4.
Hold to a count of 7.
Blow air forcefully out of your mouth to a count of 8 (purse your lips, make a whoosh sound).
- Repeat for 4 breath cycles.
Do twice a day.
- You can do it more frequently, but never more than 4 breath cycles at one time for the first month. After that, if you’re comfortable, you can increase to 8 breath cycles at one time, but that’s the absolute maximum.
- Practice increases efficacy.
- After 4-6 weeks you can use this to:
Calm down if someone pushes your buttons, before you react.
Deal with cravings.
Fall asleep, or easily fall back to sleep if you’ve awoken during the night.
After 2 – 3 months of regular practice, there can be very significant physiological changes such as lower heart rate and blood pressure, and improved digestion and anxiety.
Another great self-care approach for your backpack!