The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe.
— Terri Guillemets

Did you know that the lungs are the only organs in the human body that can float in water? Not only that, but holding your breath can increase CO2 which will help to rebalance the PH levels in your body. Talk about an easy detox program!

While breathing is practiced universally among all humans, the majority of our day we aren’t even aware that we’re doing it. That’s because it falls into the part of our nervous system called autonomic nervous system which regulates things like your heartbeat, digestion, and of course breathing. Now if that weren’t enough, breathing get’s even more impressive. It’s the only function of our autonomic nervous system that we can also control.

Throughout this series, we will explore different breathing techniques that will help us to achieve different outcomes. For today we’ll look at 3 different types of breathing exercises that will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system helping you to relax, slow down your heart rate and find a sense of calm.

Balanced Breathing

  • Description: This is one of the most simple, yet effective, breathing exercises out there. Personally, I practice it on a daily basis since I love any mindfulness activity you can do around other people without making things feel awkward ☺
  • Position: Sitting, standing, lying down, walking – whatever you like!
  • Exercise: Inhale filling up the belly for the count of 6. Pause. Exhale letting the breath escape the belly for the count of 6. Pause. Repeat.

Counted Breathing

  • Description: Try this one if you are looking to slow down your heart rate and clear the mental clutter of the mind!
  • Position: Comfortable seat or lying down
  • Exercise: Count each breath until you reach 10 and then start over again at 1. All inhales will land on an odd number and all exhales will land on an even number.
  • Example:
    • Inhale fully and think “1”. Pause. Exhale fully and think “2”. Pause.
    • Inhale fully and think “3”. Pause. Exhale fully and think “4”. Pause.
    • Inhale fully and think “5”. Pause. Exhale fully and think “6”. Pause.

4-7-8 Breathing

  • Description: Use this breathing technique if you are feeling mentally overwhelmed to help relax and ground down.
  • Position: Comfortable seat
  • Exercise: Place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your heart. Inhale in through the nose for the count of 4. Pause for the count of 7. Exhale out the mouth (like your blowing out a candle) for the count of 8. Repeat.
Katie Lavidge