8 Deep breathing techniques that work

Deep breathing techniques have several levels to it and if you are not familiar with it I recommend you give yourself the time to start with the basic stuff and move on from there.

I have taught myself how to breathe deeply while:

  • Focusing on my abdomen
  • Meditating on my breath
  • Two minute meditation when I want a quick way to relax
  • Visualising an image of myself or a goal I want to achieve
  • Repeating an affirmation and visualising the result I want
  • Chanting a sound like ah or om

I have outlined different deep breathing techniques below. Click the links below to be taken straight to them.

Focusing on my abdomen

7, 7, and 9 routine

Easier routine than 7, 7, and 9

Finding a routine

Walking and deep breathing

Two minute deep breathing technique

The stimulating breath to help increase alertness

Deep Breathing Technique with Dr. Will Harden

8 Deep Breathing Techniques

 Focusing on your abdomen

Find yourself a comfortable exercise mat or yoga mat to lie on

Make sure you are comfortable and place a cushion or pillow under your knees if you find your back aches. Do what you need to do to get comfy.

Begin to breathe and notice where you are breathing from.

Do you notice just your chest moving or are you breathing from your abdomen?

What we need are big deep belly breaths. They must originate from your abdomen and fill your lungs.

It helps if you place one hand on your chest and the other above your navel. You will feel your belly expand and fill – that is great.

Your chest may rise a little but it should never be doing all of the work.

Breathing from your chest

If you find you are breathing more in the chest then focus on learning how to correct that. Use your abdomen like a balloon that you are blowing up.

You can also place your hand firmly (but not hard) on your abdomen and challenge yourself to move your hand upwards by inhaling.

Keep working on correcting your breathing so it comes from your belly rather than your chest. Give yourself a few days or weeks if you need to – there is not rush – and make sure you are doing it correctly.

Just the simple act of correcting your breathing will already be doing your body the world of good.

 7 – 7 – 9 – Meditating on your breathe

You can continue to lie down so you get as much expansion of your lungs as possible or you might want to sit/stand to take part in this meditation technique.

Whichever position you are in focus on relaxing your body. Tension is most prominent for most people in the face, shoulders and lower body.

Close your eyes and tell your shoulders to relax.

Then relax your face, your jaw (with your mouth closed) and moving down to your lower body relax your thighs then feet.

Put your attention on the area you want to relax and say the words “relax” – once you have done this a number of times you will be able to say “relax” and feel them all relax one after the other automatically.

For now, as a beginner, consciously do this one area at a time.

As you feel the relaxing feeling flow through your body inhale deeply using your diaphragm / belly.

Begin to inhale from your abdomen and as you do count to 7 either out loud or in your head (your choice)

Hold the breath in for 7 and then…

Exhale through your nose slowly and controlled counting to 9. Pushing all the air that you can out of your lungs.

That’s it. Just keep repeating that 7, 7 and 9 technique.


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Easier Routine

If you find 7, 7 and 9 too difficult reduce it to 5, 5, and 7 or 3, 3 and 5 – whatever you are comfortable with but it really is important that you are inhaling to your full capacity.

Keep up this 7, 7 and 9 routine until you feel you are ready for something new. Inhale and exhale for as long as you are comfortable.

I don’t want to place a time limit on it but if you really need guidance then aim for 5-10 minutes a day and work up from there.

I still love to use the basic 7, 7 and 9 routine.  I find it calms me and keeps me uplifted.

Find a routine

Rather than try this one and that one stick to just one technique. At first you may want to try them all to find the one that you love the most and that’s okay.

You will eventually find one you like and when you do and stick with it for several months. Routines build habits and habits can change our life (the good and the not so great ones!).

Do what you have to do to make a deep breathing technique work.

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Walking and Deep Breathing Meditation Technique

There is something quite therapeutic about walking. I can lull myself into a trance just by focusing on feeling my feet as they hit the ground.

It is a really easy way to stay in the moment.

The last thing I want to do is waste a wonderful walk by having 101 things going on in my head.  My walks are a great time to clear my head.

Before leaving my house I take 7 – 10 deep breathes.  Inhale through my nose and exhale through my nose slowly and controlled. Letting fresh oxygen begin flowing through my body.

As I walk I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth.  It took me a little while to find my rhythm of walking and breathing, so stick with it.

I am not looking to exercise here – just to get oxygen circulating through my body. It really does help to clear my head and refresh me if I am feeling tired.

Quick 2 minute deep breathing meditation technique

There is a shorter deep breathing meditation technique that I use if I want to stop during the day and relax my mind.

I give myself two minutes with my eyes closed and just inhale/exhale deeply. I find it useful if I stop for 60 seconds too but 120 is better.

l find that taking out two minutes for my during my day really helps to keep me feeling refreshed.

Try it when you feel tired – you will find the effects of tiredness are not as strong as they once were. The more you use this technique the quicker it will help you.

Here are the instructions for the two minute deep breathing meditation technique

If possible find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Prefer to stand? Then do that. If you are on a train or in your office and you just want to take a break and breath deeply then go ahead and do that.

Close your eyes and tell your shoulders to relax. Then you face, your jaw (with your mouth closed) and your thighs then feet.

As you feel the relaxing feeling flow through your body inhale deeply using your diaphragm / belly.

As your belly expands breathe in nice and deeply through your nose keeping your mouth firmly shut and your jaw relaxed.

Release the breath slowly and controlled through your nose.

As you inhale and exhale keep your focus on your rising and falling stomach.

If you want to use visualisation while breathing bring up a mental image of yourself looking happy and relaxed.

Do your best to keep the chatter in your mind at the bare minimum. Focusing on a mental image, keeping your jaw relaxed (but closed) and focusing on your breathe are all designed to keep your thoughts away.

If you find your internal chatter returning regain your focus on relaxing by focusing on your breath, image or relaxed jaw to keep them away.

Then just keep your attention on inhaling and breathing as deeply as you can. Feel your lungs expand and when you release the breath make sure you do so in a controlled and relaxed manner.

The stimulating breath to help increase alertness

I can’t remember who taught me this technique but it is called The Stimulating Breath and is brilliant if you want something to help keep you alert and awake.

Firstly, if this is your first time do not attempt it for too long.

You may find yourself feeling light headed or short of breath.

The recommended amount of time is 15 seconds for beginners. You can increase on that time by 5 seconds every time you do the stimulating breath technique.

Here is what you have to do:

Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose while keeping your mouth closed and relaxed.

When you inhale and exhale make sure they are as short as possible but equal in duration – so don’t exhale for longer than you inhale.

keeping it short and fast. in, out, in out, in out – 3 times.

What happens is your diaphragm is forced to move quickly and it is great to helping you feel alert.

Just remember to do this for no more than 15 seconds on your first attempt and as you increase the time the more you do it the longest you should do this for is one full minute.

Take care of yourself, if at any time you feel dizzy or light headed just stop.

This is so much better than relying on a sweet snack or coffee for a boost in energy.

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Deep Breathing Technique with Dr. Will Harden

Dr Harden recommends we focus on respiration to help anyone who sits at their desk all day.

This is a really great video and another one that provides information on the benefits of deep breathing and why we should all be taking part in something that is natural to us.

The one thing we do from the moment we are born until the moment we die is breathe, so shouldn’t we all learn proper breathing to help us change our life?

Listen to all the benefits of abdominal breathing and start taking part in it.

Learn how to breathe deeply – a deep breathing video

I liked this video – there are many more available on youtube – because it is basic and for beginners.

Remember to combine your deep breathing with visualization and/or speaking affirmations to really help you build confidence.

Set your watch to go off every 3 or 4 hours and use that as a reminder to breath deeply and relax for 30 seconds to a minute.

See how regularly taking part in deep breathing techniques makes a difference to your mind and body over a day, week, month and more.

I love this video on how to breathe correctly

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