Breathing for Performance
Workshop Resources

Breathing Techniques

Power Breathing

Type: Stimulation

Benefits: Stimulate body and mind, regular practice may increase lung function and capacity, it can be used as a technique to release tension and stress, athletes and performers may use this technique to prepare for physical exertion.


  1. Sit or stand upright, aligning the spine.
  2. Breathe in deeply and forcefully through the nose, expanding the chest and lungs fully.
  3. Exhale with a strong and controlled breath through the mouth or nose, contracting the chest and abdominal muscles.
  4. Continue this pattern of forceful inhalation and exhalation for a set number of cycles (e.g., 10 to 30 times) or for a set duration.

Good for: Useful as a warm-up before physical activities to invigorate the body, it can be used during a break in the day to refresh and increase alertness, used as part of a broader emotional release or stress reduction practice.

Fire Breathing

Type: Stimulation

Benefits: Cleanses the respiratory system, boosts energy, improves digestion.


  1. Sit with a straight spine.
  2. Take a deep breath in, then forcefully exhale through the nose, contracting the abdominal muscles.
  3. Let the inhalation happen passively, then repeat the forceful exhalation.
  4. Repeat for 20-30 cycles.

Good for: Energizing, cleansing, but avoid if pregnant or with high blood pressure.

Heart-Focused Breathing

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Enhances emotional balance, reduces stress, improves mental clarity, and fosters a sense of inner peace.


  1. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position.
  2. Place a hand over your heart or simply focus your attention on the heart area.
  3. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose for about 5-6 seconds, feeling your heart and chest expand.
  4. Exhale through your mouth or nose for about 5-6 seconds, allowing your body to relax as you breathe out.
  5. (Optional): As you breathe, you can enhance the practice by recalling a positive emotion or a time when you felt good. Holding this feeling as you breathe deepens the connection between your heart and mind.
  6. Continue this pattern for several minutes or as long as you find it comfortable and beneficial.

Good for: Stress management, emotional balance, meditation practice,
overall well-being.


Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Promotes relaxation, helps with sleep.


  1. Inhale for 4 counts.
  2. Hold the breath for 7 counts.
  3. Exhale slowly for 8 counts.
  4. Repeat 4 cycles.

Good for: Preparation for sleep, insomnia, anxiety.

Heart-Focused Breathing

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Improves oxygenation, triggers relaxation responses, helps reset or calm the emotional state.


  1. You can sit, stand, or lie down.
  2. Take a quick, deep inhalation through the nose.
  3. Immediately follow the first inhalation with a second quick, deep inhalation.
  4. Exhale deeply and slowly through the mouth or nose, allowing a complete release of breath.
  5. You can repeat this pattern a couple of times if it feels beneficial.

Good for: Moments of stress or anxiety, preparation for sleep, emotional regulation.

The Break (4-0-8-0)

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Promotes relaxation, helps with sleep.


  1. Inhale for 4 counts.
  2. Exhale slowly for 8 counts.
  3. Repeat 4 cycles.

Good for: Recovery during workouts, emotional regulation, anxiety, insomnia.

Balanced Breathing

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Balances sympathetic and parasympathetic responses, promotes relaxation, increases focus.


  1. You can sit, stand, or lie down.
  2. Inhale for 4 counts.
  3. Exhale for 4 counts
  4. Repeat 4 cycles.

Good for: Moments of stress or anxiety, preparation for sleep, emotional regulation.

Triangle & Reverse Triangle

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Induce a calming effect on the mind and body, enhances mindfulness and concentration, promotes a sense of control over the breathe and relaxation.


  1. Slowly inhale through the nose for 4 counts.
  2. Hold your breath for the same count.
  3. Slowly exhale through the mouth or nose for the same count.
  4. Continue this pattern for several cycles or a few minutes, maintaining the equal parts of inhalation, holding, and exhalation.
  5. You can also change the pattern by holding your breath after the exhale (Reverse Triangle)

Good for: Daily meditation or mindfulness practice, facing a stressful event, sleep assistance.

Valsalva Maneuver

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Equalizes ear pressure, diagnose certain heart and circulatory issues, assisting in cardiac arrhythmia, facilitates bowel movements, slowdowns the heartbeat.


  1. Take a deep breath and hold it.
  2. Pinch the nostrils closed and close the mouth, or keep the mouth closed and attempt to exhale forcefully.
  3. While keeping the airways closed, try to forcefully exhale, as if blowing up a balloon. This increases pressure inside the chest cavity.
  4. Maintain the pressure for a few seconds, then release and breathe normally.

Good for: Moments of stress or anxiety, preparation for sleep, emotional regulation.

Alternate Nostril

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Balances the mind, improves focus, and reduces stress.


  1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril.
  2. Close the left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale through the right nostril.
  3. Inhale through the right nostril, then close it, and exhale through the left.
  4. Repeat for 4 cycles.

Good for: Anxiety, mental fog, balancing energy.

Box Breathing

Type: Relaxation

Benefits: Activate the parasympathetic nervous system, increases focus, enhances mindfulness, improves breathing control, helps to stay centered during challenging situations.


  1. Select a comfortable count, usually 4 to 5 seconds, for each part of the breath cycle.
  2. Slowly inhale through the nose for the chosen count (e.g., 4 seconds).
  3. Hold your breath for the same count.
  4. Slowly exhale through the mouth or nose for the same count
  5. Hold your breath again for the same count
  6. Repeat for 4 cyclest

Good for: Dealing with stressful situations, to be used as a mindfulness exercise, to prepare mentally for a competition or show, used during work or study to refresh the mind.

Gadgets & Apps to Improve your Breathing

Oura Ring

Measures: Sleep patterns, heart rate variability, body temperature, average oxygen saturation during sleep.

Helps With: By monitoring overall well-being, it indirectly supports good breathing practices by encouraging mindfulness, relaxation, and healthy sleep.


Measures: Controlled exhalation (doesn't provide data, but facilitates practice).

Helps With: Training slow and controlled breathing to reduce stress, increase mindfulness, and improve respiratory function.

Airofit Breathing Trainer

Measures: Lung capacity, breathing strength, and control.

Helps With: Improving athletic performance, lung capacity, breath control, reducing breathlessness.

Komuso Design (The Shift)

Measures: The Shift doesn't measure specific metrics but is a tool for breath control.

Helps With: Supporting mindful, slow breathing, reducing stress, and anxiety. It's a necklace-like tool designed to provide a tactile guide for lengthening exhalations.

HeartMath Inner Balance

Measures: Heart rate variability, coherence between heart and brain.

Helps With: Heart-focused breathing, stress reduction, emotional balance, and enhancing mindfulness by providing real-time feedback on heart-brain interaction.

Polar Chestband

Measures: Heart Rate, and Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

Helps With: Biofeedback for Breath Training, provides insights into stress and recovery levels, allowing for tailored breathing exercises or relaxation techniques, the heart rate data can guide training intensity, including how breath is coordinated with physical effort.

Nexcare Gentle Paper First Aid Tape (for Mouth Taping)

Helps With: Even though this is not designed for mouth taping, this is the one that I recommend since it's convenient, cheap, and easy to remove when needed.

Hostage Mouth Tape

Helps With: Mouth Tape to encourage nasal breathing, and improve oxygenation.

One-Sec App

Helps With: One-Sec is an app that you can use to interrupt your access to social media (and other apps) on your phone. When you want to access any social media app, One-sec displays a screen that forces you to stop, and take deep breath. Then it prompts you to decide if you really want to proceed or not.

Breathing Improvement Organizations

Habit Engineering

Recommended Readings

Do you suggest other resources? Let me know and let’s optimize this current list! 🙂

Keep Learning. Keep Optimizing.



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