Mindful Breathing–2-to-1 Breathing

Let’s practice 2-to-1 mindful breathing so we can better enjoy the holiday season! I know we all love our close friends and family, but spending time with them can be anxiety provoking. This mindful breathing technique is a quick way to find calm and center yourself so when Aunt Kay double dips you don’t react with, “Why not go ahead and just lick the bowl.” Maybe you’d just grab an individual bowl and treat her like the queen she is so that others can enjoy the dip, too.

I actually learned this from a friend’s daughter who recommended it on a hike when someone struggled to breath on the incline. It worked almost immediately, and we all started trying it. (Thanks, Addyson!) So, I looked it up and there is research on how and why it works!

2-to-1 mindful breathing is also called cyclic sighing or a physiological sigh. Studies have found significant benefits for those who practice it every day, such as a reduction in sudden feelings of anxiety and better management of hypertension. First, it reduces CO2 in your blood—high levels of CO2 are related to stress. On the second inhalation, you are reinflating the air sacs in your lungs, which removes CO2. The removal of the CO2 signals your brain to slow your heart rate, which is the second physiological benefit. The combination of lower CO2 levels and slowed heart rate loosen the tension in your muscles which makes you feel calm and better able to focus. Two to one breathing takes you out of fight, flight, or freeze mode.

Let’s do it! You’re going to take two sharp, quick inhales through your nose and one long exhale out of your mouth. On the inhales make sure you take in a good amount of air, so you have enough to exhale, but also, control your exhale so you are letting out a little at a time to stretch the length of it.


For more reading:

Brief Structured Respiration Practices Enhance Mood and Reduce Physiological Arousal

The Influence of the 2:1 Yogic Breathing Technique on Essential Hypertension

Soothe Your Nervous System with 2-to-1 Breathing

Stanford Neuroscientist: This 5-Second Breathing Technique is the Fastest Way to Reduce Anxiety and Stress


For more information about the practice check out upcoming programs and classes, podcasts and events, and/or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Disclaimer: This content is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for mental health or medical treatment. It is important for those with clinical and medical diagnoses to receive the appropriate treatment from trusted and trained practitioners