4-7-8 Breath Practice
This breath practice supports lengthening the exhalations gently, and helps to stimulate and support the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest states in the body). It brings calmness and ease to your Being, helping quiet the mind. Try it and see how you feel.
Have fun exploring your breath!
4 counts to inhale; 7 counts to hold your breath; 8 counts to exhale
You can begin with a couple of rounds of 4-7-8, but if that isn’t working for you, change the counts (eg. 3-5-6) and begin there. Over time and gradually, work up to the full 4-7-8.
The counts are timed as seconds, on a clock, for pacing.
Begin by finding a comfortable place to be in seated, supported so that your spine can remain comfortably straight. Seated is preferred to laying down, if possible. Support yourself as needed so you can be the most comfortable.
Take 3 slow, deep breaths in to the belly, ribcage and chest, exhaling slowly and completely.
When you are ready, begin inhaling to a count of 4; hold for a count of 7; exhale to a count of 8.
Repeat this 4-7-8 count for 2 or 3 rounds and notice how you feel. If you need to shift to 3-5-6 or alternate counting, do so.
Practice as long as is comfortable, never pushing in to pain or tension, or past what your body feels it wants and needs. It is important to listen to your body. Forcing this breathing practice is not going to bring you forward to releasing tension and pain. In fact, it creates more tension when there is force.
Gradually over time, work up to a few minutes to several minutes.
When you feel complete, return to your natural breath and pause here. Notice what you notice. What do you feel? Where do you feel that? Notice your state and any sensations that might be present now. There is information there waiting for you.