The exhale phase of your breath should be slower than the inhale phase.
After you breathe out, don’t be in a rush to suck in the next batch of air. Take a pause at the end of each exhale, and even let a little more air gently trickle out for another second or two.
Don’t try to breathe in more deeply than usual, but perhaps you’ll notice that after a prolonged exhale, your natural instincts kick in and the next inspiration will be a bit deeper than normal.
Continue this process for ten or more cycles. Then return your attention to your breath rhythm periodically throughout the day.
Why this is important
Utilizing a breath rhythm with a slower exhale will relax you muscles, slow your heart rate, calm your mind, and strengthen the parasympathetic portion of your autonomic nervous system. Many of the benefits of mindfulness meditation can be obtained simply by following a prescription of a slower exhale phase.
PS – if you want to enhance the health effects of your new breathing practice, finish up by smiling at someone.