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The practice of mindful breathing

When we listen to some guided meditations, we usually encounter the phrase “focus on your breath” or “shift your awareness to your breathing”. But what does it really mean?

To put it simply, it is all about slowing down and being aware of your breathing. It is usually called “mindful breathing,” this act of being fully present when we breathe. Some people simply count their breaths, others who are more visual try to imagine the air entering and going out of their lungs. Others like to use an app or follow a recorded guide, and yet others prefer sitting down in pure silence for a certain amount of time.

Mindful breathing is an important component of mindfulness and meditation because it can help with focus, relaxation, and concentration. According to various studies, mindful breathing could help with the following: anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, and even physical issues like hypertension and chronic pain.

There are various approaches when it comes to mindful breathing. Pranayama, or breathing exercises that are done in relation to yoga, has been proven to lower a person’s anxiety or stress levels. Deep breathing is all about breathing from the belly/diaphragm instead of the chest. This takes the air into the lower lungs which works wonders for the body and mind.

Remember to breathe through the nose and prolong the exhalation. For example, the 4-7-8 technique can help one relax. It involves taking in air for four seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling through the mouth for eight. A variant is the 3-2-4 method—inhale for three seconds, hold the breath for two, and exhale for four seconds.

No matter what breathing approach one uses, the important thing, according to experts, is to pursue a regular practice so that it will be easier for you to do when you need it like, say, when you are feeling anxious. #mindfulbreathing #mindfulness #meditation #breathe #mindfulnessasia

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