How to Perform the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

1) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
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.
5) This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

Learn more about breathing exercises that Dr. Weil recommends:


26 thoughts on “How to Perform the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise”

  1. How are you supposed to purse your lips and forcefully push breath out with your tongue pressing against the roof of your mouth? So far all this has done is make the muscles in my jaw hurt. Any pointers greatly appreciated.

  2. Proper breathing in a conscious state of mind with a grateful mind and heart is an essential need for a healthier good life and in spirituality. Thank you, Dr. Andrew Weil.

  3. those breath cycle cautions are absurd. there is no danger in breathing like that for 10 minutes the very first time.

  4. I have been doing this exercise religiously for one week and exactly as described. It has done nothing at all for me. Will keep trying for one more week to see if it's just nonsense.

  5. What if my heart stop while doing this really need help it can be anyone just replay SoS can anybody help me I think I can Die if I exhale from my mouth while sleeping
    P.S Any replay?😢😭

  6. it helps to do a diaphragmatic breath aka abdominal expansion NOT upper chest inhalation.
    also the inhalation is rapid and deep, hold breath, then slow and even exhalation, still simple and effective no matter … over time your breath may become deeper and the whole process take a little longer … not a lot but some.

  7. I thought he was talking crap with all the claims… But then I realised how warm, my hands were after doing the experiment one. I also felt a wave of calm come over me….

  8. This is the biggest scam ever it doesn't work shit to help your fall asleep whoever said this technique works I hope they kill themselves in a painful way for tricking me into thinking I could cure my insomnia ugly stupid cunt I hope you got abused as a kid and your parents hated you

  9. I started with 3 cycles and after one week upped the ante and did it for 7 cycles in the morning only.I have been practising Pranayama yoga for the past 5yrs and my Hypertension was hovering in the 140-150 range and by practising this technique for the past 20 days brought it down to 130/78.My Question is will thisl go down further if i practise for 8 cycles only in the morning?I am in the 65+ age group and have maintained my pysique pretty well.I need another natural equivelant for my diabetes(under control) to leave my medication behind like i hope to do with my BP in a year or so. Ashok Kumar India

  10. Thank you. My close friend has fallen out from hbp more than once, at least once resulting in injury. I will teach him. 😀

  11. Rhythmic breathing gives a healthier heart rate variability (HRV) and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. People seem to prefer different rates: The world champion free diver Stig Severinsen advise a 1:2 ratio.The Navy Seals use Box Breathing which is 4 seconds in – 4 seconds hold – 4 seconds out – 4 seconds hold. Dr. Alen Watkins says the steady and even rhythm is the most important. Wim Hoff has a different approach: Deep inhale and short exhale – do it 25-30 times then hold for as long as possible. Breath out and take a normal inhale. Do this three times. In general the key is rhythm, smoothness and less inhale than combined hold and exhale. The Wim Hoff Method is different as it is a kind of controlled hyperventilation. It all takes practice. Which ratio is the best comes down to who you ask. It's all a mix of old tradition and new science.

Leave a Reply