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Deep Breathing Techniques

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We all know that we need to breathe to survive. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient for our bodies. It is essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. The functioning of all systems of the body depends on delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. In fact, if the brain does not get enough oxygen, all vital organs in the body will degrade. We can survive for weeks without food and for days without water, but without oxygen, we will die within a few minutes.

Although we breathe every minute of every day many of us do not breathe properly. We develop unhealthy habits overtime and shallow breathing is one of them.

Learning how to breathe deeply can rejuvenate both the body and the mind. . It’s a fantastic stress buster that can be done anywhere without any special equipment.

Doctor Andrew Weil developed a Relaxing Breathe Exercise called 4-7-8 to help us learn how to breathe deeply again. It’s a technique that you can use whenever you are feeling stressed, when you need to slow down, or it can be incorporated into meditation.

For those who are not familiar with Doctor Weil, he’s a medical doctor, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. He’s a regular contributor to TIME Magazine and Prevention Magazine.

You can do this exercise in any position, Dr. Weil recommends that you sit with your back straight while learning the exercise.

As described on Dr. Weil’s website, to begin, you sit tall, and 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; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. Or a set of four.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.