One of the best things you can do for your health is reduce stress and induce relaxation. Heaven knows that many of us need more relaxation in our busy lives. This is where the 4-7-8 technique comes in. This is a breathing technique that can help induce a state of relaxation and calm in the body. It is also a great way to quiet the mind and let go of preoccupying thoughts.

This technique is taught and advocated by renowned integrative doctor Dr. Andrew Weil. He happened to be one of my many teachers when I did my holistic health coaching certification and this was one of the most important things I learned from him.

This technique or exercise is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that is all about the regulation of breath. Dr. Weil describes this exercise as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system that eases the body into a state of calmness and relaxation”.

What I love about the 4-7-8 technique is that it does not require any fancy equipment, is easy to do, and can be done anywhere at anytime. And best of all, it works! Just be open to the process and if you don’t get the technique right the first time, try it again. Remember, the more you practice something, the easier it gets and the more benefit you will receive.

While you can do this exercise in any position, it is recommended that you sit with your back upright while you learn how to breathe deeply.

If you want to induce a state of calm and relaxation, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

1. Sit comfortably in a quiet place with your back in an upright position. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your front teeth and keep it there for the duration of the exercise. Close your eyes.

2. Take a breath and exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound.

3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.

4. Hold your breath for a mental count of 7.

5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8.

6. This is considered one cycle. Repeat this cycle (from step 2) three more times.

Dr Weil emphasises that it is important to inhale fully to fill the lungs, and holding the breath for 8 seconds will allow the oxygen to circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect on the body.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for any medical condition. It is solely to be used as nutritional and lifestyle recommendations to support a healthy body.

This article has been republished with the author’s permission from: Sprouting Wellness