Littleton Personal Training Center

Take a Breather for Yourself

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There's no denying it - every hour of every day, you're pulled in what feels like a million directions. We scramble from task to task and there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. As a result, most of us tend to push those moments of "me time" further into the background with the commitment that we'll take time for ourselves "later" and then it doesn't happen. Sound familiar?

You probably already know this, so I’ll just remind you… you actually need some chill time. Time devoted to you recharges your batteries, helps you regulate your needs and responses (even assisting in strengthening your self-control) and de-stresses you. Going without, on the other hand, just makes matters worse. Grinding through your work day, managing the schedules of your kids and anyone you provide care for, while also fitting in the ever-important social calendar. We manage to do this day in and day out but this pace can actually be harmful for your mental and physical health, without taking some time for you. So, you ask, what words of wisdom do I have to help you unplug in a world where you are constantly wired, and fitting in a massage, facial, or mani-pedi just isn’t in the cards? Please, let me introduce you to the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise!

I know, I know – it might seem a little corny at first and I too rolled my eyes when someone told me about it. Then, one stressful moment sitting in traffic when I had three places to be I decided what the heck, I might as well give this a try as it’s got to be a better solution than all-out road rage. I was amazed at how easy and effective it was in just a few minutes (literally!).

This technique from Dr. Andrew Weil requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. He recommends practicing it every day, twice a day, and whenever anything upsetting happens… before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or stress. Use it to help you fall asleep. Even use it to deal with food cravings!

Here’s how to do it:

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.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
That’s it! You can watch a quick video of Dr. Weil demonstrating how to do this, or get more information and other great breathing tips at

I hope you give it a try, you deserve it!

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