Three Techniques to Use to Practice Deep Breathing

The Exhale
October 22, 2021
5 min read

A wealth of different studies in the neuroscientific community have proven that breathing has a far more significant impact on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing than previously believed.

Certain revelations have gone so far as to claim that utilizing deeper, more focused, and conscious breathing techniques can be vital to relieving a person of a variety of different common psychological ailments. With knowledge and understanding of the power of deep breathing becoming more nuanced and sophisticated, it’s become easier to understand why.

Of course, breaking a cycle of bad habits and sub-par breathing is no simple task, and knowing the proper techniques to unlock a state of effective deep breathing can be tricky to discover. While many meditations, mindfulness practices, and yoga give their blueprints of how to achieve these states, there is still a lack of concrete principles to follow.

In today’s blog, we’ll be focusing on three techniques that you can use to achieve a consistent state of deep breathing, along with brief how-to’s of each style.

Read on!

Deep Breathing for Beginners

If you haven’t done meditation or mindfulness before and you’re not the type to give yoga a shot, then try out one of the three techniques we have displayed below. Each is simple to learn and easy to integrate with your workflow and daily routines without hassle.

The 4-7-8

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple system that uses counting to help structure the breathing mechanism to alleviate anxiety symptoms. While no formal studies have been conducted to examine the effectiveness of the 4-7-8 technique, many practitioners swear by it.

The method is as follows:

  1. Empty your lungs.
  2. Breathe in through the nose for four seconds.
  3. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  4. Exhale through the mouth for eight seconds.
  5. Repeat the cycle roughly four times.

Getting Square

Square breathing, or box breathing, is a common technique to simplify the breathing mechanism into easy, measurable counts. The square breathing method is as follows:

  1. Breathe in for a count of 4
  2. Hold the top of your breath for a count of 4
  3. Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
  4. At the bottom of your breath, pause and hold for a count of 4.

Nostrils Engage!

Alternate nostril breathing is a breathing technique used in yoga that’s designed to energize and relax the body. This technique is fantastic for those who want the benefits of yoga without having to engage in the more spiritual aspects of yoga.

When practiced regularly, alternate nostril breathing is an effective method for achieving consistently deep breathing and can alleviate anxiety and stress. A summary of the technique is as follows:  

  1. Sit comfortably before relaxing and closing your eyes, and unclenching your jaw.
  2. Place your left hand on your left knee, and lift your right hand toward your nose.
  3. Exhale completely, and use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  4. Inhale through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with your fingers.
  5. Pause.
  6. Open the right nostril, and exhale through this side.
  7. Inhale through the right nostril, then close it.
  8. Pause.
  9. Open the left nostril, and exhale through that side.
  10. Continue for as long as needed.

Above is just a basic “how-to” of the technique, so if you find yourself struggling with it, just be aware that there are plenty of nuances that haven’t been covered. So do yourself a favor and look more deeply into the method before giving up entirely.

For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here.

And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.


The Exhale