I hate being told to breathe. When someone tells me to breathe, I usually want to crack them in the jaw with my yoga mat. But I learned this one technique about 20 years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, Luke Francis.
I took a pregnancy yoga class, which was mainly a bunch of massively round women drinking tea and talking about episiotemies. This one technique, though, stuck with me. When I found myself using it at the dentist, to help me cope with the feeling of a needle jammed into my jaw, I realized I could use it anywhere. And I did. I still do.
4 to 8 Breathing
- Close your mouth. Breathe in to the count of 4. Fill your lungs comfortably.
- Keep mouth closed. Let that same air come out to the count of 8. Y
You’ll have to constrict your throat a little to control it so it comes out double speed. So it’s in 4, big breath, and out 8, long breath.
When I’m thinking about my breath, trying to keep it to this long-out-breath rhythm, my body relaxes without me realizing it. It just goes on autopilot. Something about those 8 breaths just makes pain of any kind tolerable.
I used that breath to cope for all 7 hours of labor. Luke was born, 9 pounds exactly. He was so fat and happy, he looked like a little buddha. We called him Buddha Baby.