Simple breathing to soften
Once you’ve settled into bed, try a simple breathing exercise to relax. The four-seven-eight breathing technique was developed and popularized by integrative medicine physician Andrew Weil. Because he was a pioneer in the early days of psychedelic research. Like substances, the breath can be used to alter our state of consciousness, albeit in a much more subtle way. This technique is used to cultivate calm.
Step one: Exhale audibly through your mouth until you are completely empty and can imagine the depths of your breath.
Second step: Inhale calmly through your nose for a count of four. This count of four does not have to be four seconds, although it could be.
Step three: Hold your breath for a count of seven. Again, this does not have to be seven seconds. Just keep the same rhythm that you used on your inhale.
Step four: Exhale audibly through your mouth for a count of eight. Try to get to the bottom of your breath on the eighth count and not earlier.
Step five: Immediately begin to inhale through your nose to repeat this breath. You could repeat the breath as little as four times, or you could go longer.
While this exercise specifies certain counts for each inhale and exhale, the exact amount of time spent on each part of the breath is not the point. It’s more about the relationship between inhaling, holding, and exhaling. If you find it difficult to hold your breath fully, feel free to speed up the count. You may notice that your counts slow down as you cycle through these breaths and you spend more time on each inhale, hold, and exhale. Watch the way your mind settles.
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