What is Guided Breathing?

by Carrinicole

A core component of meditation is the breath: focusing attention on the breath, taking deep breaths, following the breath from belly to lung to head. Breathing in through your nose, out through your mouth. When you’re distracted, always returning back to the breath. Some people even say ‘in/out’ to themselves to keep the focus on breathing. 

One form of meditation—which happens to be one of my favorites — is following different repeated patterns of breathing. What does this mean? 

Guided breathing is following a specific repetition of breath, using the inhale, hold, and exhale. The two most popular forms of guided breathing are 4 – 7 – 8 and 6 – 6. 

4—7—8 

    • Inhale deeply through your nose from tummy to lungs to head for 4 seconds
    • Hold for 7 seconds
    • Slowly exhale through pursed lips for 8 seconds

6 – 6 

    • Inhale deeply through your nose from tummy to lungs to head for 6 seconds
    • Exhale for 6 seconds 

The ability to count and focus on a specific breathing pattern helps remove distraction from my meditation practice. It’s amazing how these repeated breathing exercises can release stress, tension in the body, and clear your mind. If you’re just starting to form your meditation habit, I highly recommend these types guided meditation sessions.

There are many types of guided meditation apps that focus on breath, and I recommend you try them out! Most meditation apps will have some form of guided breathing on them. Here are my favorites: 

  • If you have an Audible subscription you can find guided breathing sessions.
  • If you have an Equinox account, download the Variis app, and the “Headstrong” tab has them as well.

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