We’ve talked about acupressure points to enhance sleep
but have you heard about the Relaxing Breath Count which Andrew Weil teaches?
Breath of Calm 4-7-8 breath count for calm and sleep
Weil says to “place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue.”
“If this seems awkward try pursing your lips slightly.”
(Or just forget about the tongue position, if you wish.)
This is the five-step Breath of Calm:
- Keep your tongue in place as described (or slightly purse your lips).
- Exhale completely through your mouth (around your tongue), making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. (This expels more carbon dioxide and balances blood gases.)
Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four cycles.
Weil emphasizes the most important part of this process is holding your breath for 7 seconds. This will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. This produces a relaxing effect.
Do 4 cycles twice a day until it feels easy and natural.
After a month you can increase to 8 cycles at a time, but not more than that.
Use this breath to
- fall asleep, even when you wake up in the wee hours
- reduce anxiety on the spot
- control food cravings
- deal with uptight moments when somebody pushes your button
- relax anytime you need to do so
Weil says that when you get accustomed to using this 4-7-8 breath, the results are stronger than anti-anxiety meds.
For a variety of breath counts, to boost energy or release stress, see my post of 2012,
More Energy Through Breath – which includes energizing breath, fire breath, melting breath, heart breath, and this section on Calming Breath:
Among the many ‘counting breath’ options, here are two for calming down. Neither one involves holding the breath. Just count steadily in, then out. Smooth.
Both of these will relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and stop the fight/flight response.
In-breath: 1-2-3 Out-breath: 4-5-6-7- 8
In-breath: 1-2 Out-breath: 3-4-5-6-7-8
Notice how all of these calming breath recommendations have a longer exhalation, short inhalation. This enhances physiological relaxation in the body and mind. Your body’s blood gases, hormones, and energy system naturally respond to this breath rhythm and bring you into ease and sleep.
Have you tried any of these?
I find the 4-7-8 breath does get me to sleep.
How about you?
Diane Stallings RN does energy healing, Biofield Tuning, and gives you practical ways to enhance your wellbeing. Make an appointment in Phoenix , now booking in July. Free meditation classes in Fountain Hills.
(Thanks to Linda Marklund at Flickr for this lovely sleeping baby 😉