A Breath of Fresh Air; Just Breathe
Join me in exploring the world of breath work — a simple and effective technique that is like having a mini-holiday for your mind, body and soul. Picture yourself right now, pausing your hectic, stressful day & stepping into a serene oasis of tranquillity, sound Interesting? Let’s delve into the magical world of The Relaxing Breath!
What is ‘The Relaxing Breath’?
The “relaxing breath, also known as 4-7-8 breathing, is a breathing technique designed to help you discover your inner peace, even amidst the chaos of everyday life. It’s a powerful tool that draws inspiration from ancient practices such as yoga and meditation, offering a sense of calm, like a comforting throw, being wrapped around you.
Let’s Look At How It Works
The science behind ‘the relaxing breath’ is both simple and ingenious. Modern life is incredibly stressful, if you are one of those people who thinks they are not stressed, it’s everyone else who is stressed, then this is probably most relevant for you, those who think they are NOT stressed, are those who’ve most likely adjusted to the stress & therefore don’t recognise it! Think of the lobster in the pot of cold water, they’re oblivious to the water gently warming up until it is too late, this is how low level stress works. So, literally by simply regulating your breath, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system—the part of your body responsible for the “rest and digest” response. Quite simply, you’re switching from fight-or-flight mode to relaxation mode, promoting inner peace and mental clarity.
Practising This Breathing Technique
Here’s how you can incorporate the magic of 4-7-8 breathing into your life:
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, ideally with your back straight (ensure you won’t be disturbed)
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through the nose for a count of 4 seconds.
- Now hold your breath for 7 seconds (count elephant 7 times)
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds (count elephants 8 times), make a gentle whooshing sound as you release your tension.
- Repeat this cycle three more times, for a total of four breaths.
The Benefits of The Relaxing Breath Breathing
Now, let’s explore the advantages of practising this breathwork daily. Incorporating this relaxing breath into your routine can lead to a treasure trove of benefits:
- Reduce Your Stress: Bid farewell to stress and anxiety as the rhythm of your breath eases your worries.
- Better Sleep: Welcome peaceful dreams by preparing your mind for a serene night’s rest.
- Improved Focus: Much better cognitive function & concentration as mental clarity takes centre stage.
- Blood Pressure Changes: Keep your blood pressure in check by inviting relaxation into your daily routine. Your doctor will be thrilled!
- Inner Peace: Transform tense moments at work or at home into tranquil ones, all with the power of your breath.
Moreover, the relaxing breath can also contribute to a deeper spiritual connection and a sense of mindfulness. By practising this technique, you might find that your mind becomes more open to spiritual insights, intuitions, or spiritual revelations. Some people even report experiencing a sense of expansiveness and connection to a higher realm during or after such practices.
What Sets it Apart?
What distinguishes this technique from all of those other techniques in the realm of relaxation & breathwork? It’s simplicity and accessibility. It’s free to do it, you can employ this breathing whenever, & wherever you need to. You don’t need to get a degree or any other expensive training. I use this when I’ve got something quite pressurised to do such as a difficult phone call. I use it after something stressful, such as a workshop or dealing with a family crisis. Maybe you don’t enjoy flying, if you did this before the plane journey, during if need be and afterwards, it will help to mute the noise in your head, calm your body & allow you to think straight. Nobody even needs to know you were just doing this exercise, you don’t need to whip out your yoga mat and put it in the aisle of the plane!
When Mindful Breathing Isn’t Enough
Whilst the relaxing breath is a fantastic tool in its own right, there may be times when your stress feels particularly acute. In such cases, consider combining it with mindfulness exercises, gentle stretches, or even a quick walk in nature to elevate your relaxation game. Try whatever works for you, you can never ‘de-stress’ yourself too much.
Remember, your breathing is your passport to a world of tranquillity. So, the next time life serves up a plate of stress, take a deep breath, count your breath, and find yourself letting go of the stress & strain. Your mind and body will thank you for this breath of fresh air!
If you want help learning to meditate & master your breath work, get in touch as I run meditation classes to help people get to grips with it. It’s easier than you might think.