The 4/6 Breath for Relaxation

I want to talk today about a breathing method I’ve been using for some time now.

I’ve been using it so long that I forget where it originated. 

The technique is very simple and allows you to become calm but remain alert.

It can be done anywhere at any time and is perfectly safe.


I refer to it as the 4/6 breath because of the timing involved.

Simple inhale thru your nose on a slow count of 4. Pause briefly, then exhale through your nose or mouth on a slow count of 6 and pause again. 

The pause should be natural and gentle. Do not strain or ‘hold’ your breath. 

Repeat this 10-20 times and see how you feel. 

So now you know how to do it, and you’ve probably felt some benefits. Here’s why it works.

We have two major states of our nervous system. 

Sympathetic: This is our Fight or Flight response.

Parasympathetic: This is the Rest and Digest mode.

Inhaling is slightly more sympathetic, and exhaling is slightly more parasympathetic. So by making the exhale slightly longer, we start to shift ourselves to a more relaxed state. 

Likewise, nasal breathing is a bit more parasympathetic, and mouth breathing is more sympathetic. That’s why our inhale is via the nose on this breath. 

There’s a way to make the exhale from the mouth even more relaxing, but I won’t go into that today. 

As for the 4/6 breath, some people find it hard to breathe that slow at first. That’s fine; you can try a ⅗ breath and work your way up to 4/6. 5/7 work too, the key is for the exhale to be longer and slower than the inhale without being stressful. 

Oh, one other thing. Don’t slow the breathing down much more than 5/7 or so unless you’re ready for bed and trying to fall asleep. 

Questions? Hit me up at