Take a Brain Break & De-stress with 5 Finger Breathing

Breathing is one of the most fundamental and automatic functions of the human body. However, most of us don’t pay much attention to our breathing patterns and take shallow breaths that don’t fully expand our lungs. This can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. The good news is that a simple technique called the “5 Finger Breathing Practice” can help improve your breathing and bring a sense of calmness and relaxation to your mind and body.

The 5 Finger Breathing Practice involves using your fingers as a visual aid to focus on your breathing. As you practice the 5 Finger Breathing Technique, you’ll notice that your breathing becomes slower and deeper, and your mind becomes more relaxed and focused. This practice can be done anywhere, anytime, and is a great way to manage stress and anxiety.

How to do 5 Finger Breathing

Ready to give it a try? Follow the instructions below to learn how!

Please discontinue this practice if you have any light-headedness or start to feel any sensations of panic or discomfort. 


  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to relax your body and mind.
  3. Place your left hand in front of you with your palm facing up.
  4. With your right index finger, trace the outline of your left hand starting at the base of your left thumb.
  5. As you trace up your left thumb, inhale deeply through your nose.
  6. Hold your breath briefly as you trace along the top of your left hand.
  7. As you trace down your left pinky finger, exhale slowly through your mouth.
  8. Repeat this process for each finger of your left hand.

Click the image to access a PDF version of this breathing practice!


Benefits of 5 Finger Breathing

The 5 Finger Breathing Practice has many benefits, including:


  1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety: This practice helps to slow down your breathing and relax your body, which can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  2. Improving Focus: Focusing on your breath and the movement of your fingers helps to bring your mind into the present moment, improving your concentration and focus.
  3. Increasing Lung Capacity: By taking deep breaths, you’ll be able to expand your lungs fully, which can improve your lung capacity over time.
  4. Lowering Blood Pressure: The relaxation response triggered by this technique can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  5. Improving Sleep: Practicing this technique before bed can help to relax your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Why is it good for Older Adults and Stroke Survivors?

5 Finger Breathing is an accessible and great resource for stroke survivors for a number of reasons. 


  • Improved Breathing:
    • As we age, our lung capacity naturally decreases, making it harder to take deep breaths. The 5 Finger Breathing Practice can help to improve lung capacity and breathing, which is particularly important for older adults and stroke survivors who may have respiratory issues.
  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety:
    • Older adults and stroke survivors may experience higher levels of stress and anxiety due to health concerns or other factors. This practice can help to reduce these feelings and promote relaxation.
  • Improved Brain Function:
    • Stroke survivors may experience cognitive deficits, such as difficulty with memory or attention. The 5 Finger Breathing Practice can improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain and promoting relaxation.

Overall, 5 Finger Breathing Practice is a simple yet effective technique that can improve breathing, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation. It is particularly beneficial for older adults and stroke survivors who may have respiratory issues, cognitive deficits, or higher levels of stress and anxiety. By practicing this technique regularly, you can improve your overall health and well-being.

5 Finger Breathing is just one of the many breathing techniques that we use in our online chair yoga and Mindfulness classes and programs. Breathing practices have been shown to help with mental clarity, focus, and concentration in survivors.

Learn more about our weekly live chair yoga classes and how they can be a part of your stroke recovery today! Email us at info@unalomelotus.com or call 720.505.4015


Sources: 2017, 2014, 2020