Coherence breathing is a simple, efficient method used for dealing with daily stress and anxiety. Developed in the United States over twenty years ago, the method was brought to France in the early 2000s by David Servan-Schreiber. Also known as cardiac coherence, or heart coherence, it uses a simple breathing technique. Five minutes of cardiac coherence lifts levels of oxytocin (well-being hormone) and lowers levels of cortisol (stress hormone) for a duration of four to six hours. Cardiac coherence exercises are recommended three times a day during periods of increased stress.
The basic exercise is simple: perform four to six long, regular breathing cycles (inhale, exhale) per minute. Inhale for four, six, or eight seconds, and exhale the same amount of time while concentrating on the heart. Musical guiding videos with three different breathing speeds are proposed on Lucile’s YouTube channel.
Those already practicing yoga or meditation tend to prefer a slow rhythm (four cycles/minute). Beginners prefer a faster rhythm, as they may have more trouble maintaining long cycles. Use the speed that works best for you and feel free to switch speeds as you improve. Follow the rhythm of the music; the “bing” sound indicates when to inhale, the “bong” when to exhale.
It can be hard to concentrate at the beginning, but provided you’re patient, you’ll succeed quickly. A trick to prevent unwanted thoughts is to count your breathing cycles. Find a quiet, comfortable place and sit down with a straight back. Your breathing style is very important: you should breathe in through the nose and use core support, and breathe out through the mouth.
Close your eyes, breathe slowly in and out once or twice to clear your lungs, and then concentrate on your breathing for around twenty seconds. Finally, begin following the rhythm of the music. Even if you feel you’ve achieved results after the first session, a minimum of two weeks of practice is generally needed before the full positive effects may be felt.
The more you practice, the faster and more efficiently you’ll reach inner calm.
Enjoy this practice!
Read more about coherence breathing:
B.R.E.A.T.H.E: The neuroscience of breathing techniques Ted Talk
I created these guided meditations to help you work on yourself and your blocks, and spread your own wings. Find the coaching tips I share with my clients in these powerful self-reflection exercises. Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments under the YouTube videos, I always enjoy reading and responding to them.