Inhale, Exhale – Breathwork

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

The body discharges 70% of its toxins through the breath. If we’re not effectively using the breath, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health wrote, “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. From my own experience and from working with patients, I have come to believe that proper breathing is the master key to good health.”

Deep circular breathing—belly breathing—is when we inhale through our nose and exhale through our mouth. However, the ideal breath is not as simple as this. A true cleansing breath is one that directs the breath energy all the way down into the lower belly; about two inches below the navel. This area is known as the lower “Tan Tien,” meaning the stove, furnace, or cauldron.

Follow this inhalation by exhaling waste products up and out through the mouth with a long, slow exhalation. The key to the breath is to have longer exhalations than inhalations. In fact, they should be twice as long. This not only purges toxins, but promotes vital energy, relaxation, and healing.

When we don’t use our breath effectively, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness. You can learn the practice of healthy breathing to increase your energy level, lower blood pressure, increase vitality, enhance mental concentration and the ability to retain information, unleash creativity, improve circulation, overcome anxiety disorders, and relaxation.

One of the most relaxing breathing exercises is four-seven-eight. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation—enjoy!

Four – Seven – Eight Breath
Inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
Hold that breath while mentally counting to seven.
Exhale through your mouth while mentally counting to eight.
Pause briefly without inhaling then start another round; this natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

For more information on Breathwork, please follow this link.

35 thoughts on “Inhale, Exhale – Breathwork

  1. Laurie,

    More and more I am remembering to breathe… Much of what you write here of course I have read and taken to practice for the last few months, yet I offered the suggestion for people to breathe when ever I witness them over reacting or in need to center themselves.
    When doing a Reiki session if find it helpful if the I can get the client to begin to follow my breath as we are seeking the healing energy, there for the energy is flowing uninterrupted.
    The one place I really learned to do breath work is within the realm of Body Electric workshop, taken breath to whole new level of consciousness. BE’s Mission statement offers this;

    “The work of Body Electric is to help people experience their potential as fully integrated, loving and self-aware beings through personal growth exercises, touch, conscious breath, and honoring the wisdom of the body. The individual’s work can then affect healthy and positive changes within many communities.”
    Their web site:

  2. Oh my goodness, thank you thank you! I can’t believe you gave permission to have longer exhales than inhales. I have always exhaled longer than inhaled and felt inadequate when people said that they should be of equal length. Phew, now I don’t need to feel inadequate any longer. Not one more second! I shall breathe like I do without worrying what others think. (Sorry, Laurie, in one of those crazy moods today. Probably too much inhalation.)

    On a more serious note, have been watching breath and breathing very deep for several weeks now. Especially after visiting Cheyenne out in Lake Tahoe. It has been so amazing. Amazing what conscious breathwork can do for us…

    Thank you!

    • Kathy – Isn’t it great to know you were breathing correctly all along — whoohoo! I agree wholeheartedly that benefits of deep, slow breathing are truly amazing.

  3. Good Morning,
    I can not believe I’m 54 years old and don’t know how to breathe!!
    However, now that I reading health books it seems that to breathe is one of the first things people should learn to do, and do right.
    In Eastern books teaching someone to breathe seems to be the core of aligning and channelling creative energy to the chakras.
    It’s a breath that is slow and depp, a breath that extends your lower abdomen when you inhale and contracts it when you exhale.
    Is is a very natural way to breathe, it is a way we breathe when we sleep.
    I have set my alam on my cell phone to ring every 2 hours just to remind me to breathe deeply. In time I hope that my deep breathing will become more natural.

    P.S. I did not know what body talk was can you give an example.

    • Jean – As for the BodyTalk example, let me see if I can get Kris Freeman (BodyTalk practitioner) to post an example for you. I’m not a licensed/certified practitioner of that energy-based modality so I hesitate to speak from a position of knowledge when that wouldn’t be the case.

  4. ahhhhh! One would think breathing was easy as we do it in one form or another from our first moments. Yet, I must practice and practice my breathing not to be huffing and puffing at the top quarter of my lungs (well not quite that bad but you get the idea).

    Laurie, there is never a reminder to breathe that was more well placed in my day or week. Your 4, 7, 8 example is a pleasant grounding breath. Thank you!

  5. Hi Laurie,

    There was a time when I poo-poo’d the idea of breath work as something that ‘those idiots’ did. Then one day I got the bright idea that I’d like to learn to facilitate firewalks and my instructor required me to spend two weeks doing various forms of breathwork before he’d provide any instruction. That two weeks turned out to be one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

    Something that feels incredibly invigorating when I breath is to imagine that I am the breath as opposed to I am a body breathing. I imagine myself moving into the lungs, and from there, into the blood stream, the heart and circulating throughout the body. Mucho delightful!

    Be well Ms. Laurie B. 😉

    • Well Hello There Bob — It’s sooooo good to see you. And I’m glad that you can, and did, attest to the benefits of mindful breathing. Hey … are you holding our sun hostage in Arizona? It’s not to be found around here today. Don’t be a stranger — I enjoy your visits.

  6. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for the insight and directions. It is interesting that something we take for granted everyday, our breathing, actually can be improved.

    I am intentionally practicing circular breathing.

    I have also found that many times when I am experiencing something, good or bad, I tend to hold my breath. When I am trying to do something hard, struggling or even when I am experiencing something really good. When I notice this I intentionally start to breath deeply and it actually helps me a great deal by either lessening the struggle or bad feeling or increasing the good feeling.

    • Edie – You’re absolutely right, the intentional practice of circular breathing is healthfulon so many levels. As you shared, we sometimes hold our breath and/or even “brace” ourselves by bringing our shoulders up around our ears. Once we take notice and start breathing mindfully, and relax our shoulders back down, it brings us to a place of calm. I’m glad you stopped by Speaking from the Heart. I hope you’ll come back again, soon.

  7. Thanks Laurie – a good reminder of what I have not been focusing on lately.

    Raw Food Gourmet arrived yesterday, I’ve been shedding weight, and Ailsa is starting to complain that I’m getting boney – so getting some balance in the diet is probably a good thing about now.

    • Ted – “getting some balance in the diet” is a really good thing right now. I agree with Ailsa that “Boney” is not good — maintain your weight.

  8. Hello,
    I have just returned from town, and a visit with a friend.
    I am very excited about all that we talk about and the learning we do here with you Laurie. Everyone has such interesting idea’s and I enjoy hearing about other’s expriences.
    I have been given a book today by a friend after talking about how I like reading and learning about the healing arts. She said “that if anyone was in need this book I was.” You problably know it “The Road Less Traveled”. It’s an old book but she said she believes I’m on a jouney of my very own and this book will help me.
    I took a deep breathe and Thanked her and took the book.
    Each day is filled with soooo much to know and learn, there just isn’t enough time in the day.
    I will be breathing on and off tomorrow, my daughter is having eye surgery, and I wont breath easily until tomorrow night.

    • Oh JeanThe Road Less Traveled is an excellent book. You’re going to thoroughly enjoy it! I’m holding HeartLight for your daughter. Please circle back to let us know how things go.

      By the way, how was your hot air balloon ride the other day?

  9. …such a divine picture of you and the class, breathing -()-

    My family and I went to this Chinese acupuncturist that was giving classes on how to – not only breathe properly but to also move energy to your fingertips, so when it is ever needed, it can be there at hand for any an ailment of energy in need of. It was most intriguing as well as nourishing.
    It takes a bit of getting used to and is a discipline that needs constant nurturing to be in this active way of disciplinary.

    There were some that walked out in the middle of the class when we started getting into breathing differently….guess it can be a bit frightening when the ways of breathing up until then, was now being done in a different fashion and that some in my family still do, when it comes to the chest up rising as opposed to belly talk.

    Bright Blessings be with you always, my dear Laurie,

    Much Love ❤

    • Rita – The classes you and your family took sound fantastic! Learning to move energy to ones hands for the purpose of healing touch is wonderful, indeed. I’m astonished that people got up and walked out in the middle of a breathing class; how sad for them.

  10. Okay, Laurie, I am printing a dozen copies of this one and posting them all over the place: at work, in my car, in my home, in my backpack — everywhere I can think of. What an excellent way to stop speeding in the fast lane of life and literally take a breather. I am good at belly breathing, but I forget about this cleansing breath even though we practice it in yoga! What a monkey mind I have. I am very grateful for you and your very centered instruction.

  11. I have been mindfully breathing since I’ve read this, well, when I remember to. Breathing freely is still an issue for me, in fact I often find myself holding my breath, with out meaning to. With only part of my heart working, I want to make sure every breath counts, twice. I get some good deep breathing going while I’m working in the garden and I’ve even broke into a few short sprints on occasion with out over-exerting myself. These days every breath is a gift. Thanks for sharing this excellent technique.

    • “… every breath is a gift.” I couldn’t agree with you more, Sandi. Inhale with your nose (we have hair in our nose for filtering purposes), and exhale through your mouth. DEEP, SLOW, QUIET and REGULAR — this is how our breathing should be.

  12. Laurie,

    Thank you so much the recommendation for the breathing class in New York. I really enjoyed the session and the people who taught the class. Thanks again for passing that knowledge along.

    Take care,
    Kiah (Kathy’s daughter)

  13. Pingback: Crystal Therapy « Speaking from the Heart

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