We all struggle with stress and anxiety these days.  Simply taking the time to breathe deeply can be a tremendous help.

Some people with environmental illness and even those who cities with extremely polluted air, may suffer from a condition called dysventilation.  This is simply shallow and rapid breathing that is often quite unconsciously done.  Breathing exercises can help alleviate this condition and make breathing more of a conscious act. Dr. Andrew Weil shares this technique called 4-7-8 breathing, which originated from yoga. This exercise can be done in any position, but if you are sitting, sit with your back straight with feet on the floor.  You can count fast or slow as long as you count at a consistent pace.

Click HERE If you prefer watching his video demonstration.

Dr. Andrew Weil outlines this simple breathing exercise in his book, Natural Health, Natural Medicine:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth. Keep your tongue there during the entire exercise.
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a blowing noise as you do so.
  3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose for a count of FOUR.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of SEVEN.
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of EIGHT, making a blowing noise as you do so.
  6. This is one cycle. Repeat the cycle three more times, for a total of four cycles.
  7. Do this exercise twice a day to begin, and as you get used to it, do it as often as you like. Always keep the same ratio of 4:7:8 during the exercise.


Krohn, J. and F. Taylor (2000). Natural Detoxification. 2nd ed. Vancouver: Hartley and Marks Publishers Inc.

Weil, Andrew (2004). Natural Health, Natural Medicine. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.