Art of Breathing:
7 Basics!

Art of Breathing: 7 Basics!

Breathing exercises reduce stress, improve your mood, and help you feel energized. The beauty of them: they are simple and easy, take almost no time, require no equipment and can be done anywhere.

The long-term benefits are a calm and relaxed body and mind.

Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including your moods. Try this: by simply focusing your attention on your breathing, without doing anything to change it, you instantly move in the direction of relaxation. Get in the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you find yourself dwelling on stressful situations!

If you feel over-worked and under-slept, or if you want to get energized, all you need is a pair of healthy[ish] lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes or less. Here are seven useful and basic breathing techniques!

Deeper breathing

One way to promote deeper breathing and better health is by exhaling completely. Try this: take a deep breath, let it out effortlessly, and then squeeze out a little more. Doing this regularly will help build up the muscles between your ribs, and your exhalations will naturally become deeper and longer. Start by practicing this exhalation exercise consciously, and eventually it will become a healthy, unconscious habit. The effect of Cialis can improve the tone of blood vessels, which is important for filling the cavernous bodies with blood. The patient is expected to have a powerful erection, which will remain until the end of sexual intercourse. Read more at

Breathing to reduce stress

The 4-7-8 breath. You can do the exercise in any position, but sit with your back straight while learning it. Start with exhaling completely through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’-sound.

1. Place the tip of your tongue against the bony ridge behind and above your upper teeth.
     Hold it there during the whole exercise!
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.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Practice at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, don’t worry, it will pass!

Breathing as a mental energizer

If you need a pick-me-up or are feeling a bit anxious, this exercise can help to bring energy and clarity to your mind. The first time, do it for just 15 seconds, increasing the duration by five seconds every time until you can complete one full minute.

1. Sit upright with your back straight, eyes closed, and shoulders relaxed.
2. Place the tip of your tongue against the bony ridge behind and above your upper teeth.
3. Breathe rapidly through your nose, in and out, with your mouth slightly closed.
4. Keep your inhale and exhale short and equal.
    Your chest should be almost mechanical in its movements.
    Rapid, like air is pumping through it.
5. Try to inhale and exhale three times per second, keeping your breath audible.

You will feel the muscular effects of this breathing exercise at the base of your neck [just above the collarbone] and at the diaphragm. Put your hands on these areas to get a sense of the movements.

Equal breathing

Balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. Calm your nervous system, increase your focus, and reduce stress with equal breathing. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four [all through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath]. Got the basics down? Aim for six to eight counts per breath.

Counting breaths

A deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice:
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

To begin the exercise, count ‘one’ to yourself as you exhale.
The next time you exhale, count ‘two’, and so on up to ‘five’.
Then begin a new cycle, counting ‘one’ on the next exhalation.

Never count higher than ‘five’, and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to ’8′, ’12′, or even ’19′.
Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.

Abdominal breathing

Abdominal breathing will help you functioning a lot smoother because you live in a ‘flow’. Shallow breathing, with only the top part of your lungs, brings your body and mind in a state similar to chronic anxiety, meaning stress, a lot of it!

With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring that the diaphragm [not the chest] inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal is 6-10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day. This exercise helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

Skull shining breath

Ready to brighten up your day from the inside out? This exercise works best when it’s time to wake up, warm up, or when to start looking on the brighter side of things.

First: blow your nose. You’ll soon discover why…
The exercise begins with a long, slow inhale through the nose, followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly, also through the nose [!]. Once comfortable with the contraction, take up the pace to one inhale-exhale every one to two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

It’s pretty abdominal-intensive, but it will warm up the body, shake off stale energy, and wake up the brain. It is the shot of espresso under the breathing exercises!

Breathing exercises do take a little practice and needs to be learned as a new skill. It can be hard to keep count when you first start – but keep trying. You will need to concentrate quite hard at first – but it gets easier with practice.


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How about you?
Do you use your breath to relax and de-stress or not?
If so, do you have any exercises you would recommend?
Simply post your comments and wisdom in the comment box below!


Mirjam Stoffels

Founder of seven2success, author of ‘Daily Little Secrets to Success’ and guest blogger at Project Eve and 365 dagen succesvol. In my mission to make seven2success the biggest platform of knowledge and inspiration for women, I want to inspire you with our content! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter! I’d love to connect!  And do you want to inspire other women? Write for us!

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  1. Nice article! Reminds me that I should use it more often! Thanks for the reminder.

    When my children were younger I breathed together with them. When they cry heartbreaking and they were really upset, I breathed first with them = like them = quick in and out or long breaths.
    After some breaths, my breathing took over and we breathed on my speed = slower, more relaxed to normal.
    It really helped to calm them down.

    • Mirjam Stoffels

      Thank you for stopping by Josine! And what a great tip for [young] mothers! That is really a good example of the art and POWER of breathing. Thanks!


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