Best 12-Minute 4-7-8 Breathing Meditation Technique
Breathing techniques are used to induce a deep state of relaxation in the body. Your body can refill its oxygen supply by following specific patterns that involve holding the breath for a period of time. From the lungs outward, techniques like 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.
The 4-7-8 breath stands for the following. You inhale for four counts, then hold your breath for seven counts, and then exhale through your mouth with pursed lips for eight counts. The ratio of the intake breath, breath-hold, and especially the exhalation breath is more essential than the durations of these breaths. You'll note that the exhale breath is twice as long as the inflow breath. This permits the lungs to completely empty of stagnant air, which is common in persons with chronic lung illness, particularly those who have obstructive lung disease. This 4-7-8 breath gives you the chance to fully exhale.
Dr. Andrew Weil, the patriarch of integrative medicine, first presented the 4-7-8 breath, and as a pulmonologist and current University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship fellow. The 4-7-8 breath can be employed in instances where you're feeling anxious or agitated, or even if you're having trouble sleeping.
How to do 4-7-8 Breathing Meditation
1. Sit in a comfortable position. If it feels safe to do so, you can close your eyes or drop your focus a few inches in front of you. Consider sitting up straighter and visualizing a thread pulling the crown of the head upwards toward the sky and running down the spine. Checking in and ensuring that the head is balanced on shoulders that are balanced on hips. This improves the anatomic configuration of your lungs, allowing them to exchange more air.
2. To begin, exhale through your mouth for a count of four, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Then two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight come out of your mouth, pursed lips.
3. Repeat that three more times
4. Exhale once more, then inhale deeply through your nose. Hold your breath for a moment. Then exhale slowly and deeply through your mouth. Inhale deeply through your nose. Hold your breath for a moment. Inhale via your nose and exhale through your mouth. Inhale through your nose one more time. Hold your breath for a moment. Inhale via the nose and exhale through the mouth.
5. Then revert to a regular breathing pattern. Checking in and recognizing how you feel now vs a few breath cycles ago is a good idea. Now pay attention to the sensations in your body. Keep an eye out for any feelings. After the 4-7-8 breath, notice how you feel right now in this instant.
4-7-8 Breathing Meditation: What are the benefits?
A review article published in the Health Science Journal in 2011 identified some of the possible health benefits of deep breathing techniques, particularly diaphragmatic deep breathing. The following are some of the potential advantages:
- decreased fatigue
- reduced anxiety
- reduced symptoms of asthma in children and adolescents
- better stress management
- reduced hypertension
- reduced aggressive behavior in adolescent males
- improved migraine symptoms
Going through four breath cycles up to twice a day is the suggested number of times to do this type of breath at first. If you do more than that, you may have dizziness and lightheadedness. If this occurs, you can definitely reduce the number of breath cycles you do with the 4-7-8 breathing meditation and gradually increase them. However, before you begin your daily mindfulness practice, you might want to try this breathing method. Before you begin your formal practice, incorporate an intentional, conscious sort of breathing. The invitation is there, the choice is yours.