The human heart is like a radio transmitter: it generates an electromagnetic field that can be easily measured from 50 feet away. And, the energy field that it generates is 500 times more powerful than that of the brain!

Do you know about “Heart Rate Variability?” This refers to the natural tendency of the heart to speed up and slow down with each breath. Heart rate variability is a sign of a healthy heart, and an indicator of overall well being.

With each inhale, you stimulate the sympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system, and you speed up your heart rate.

With each exhale, you stimulate the parasympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system, and you slow your heart down.

High heart rate variability is linked to longevity, and it is inversely proportionate to stress. The more stressed you are the less your heart speeds up and slows down with every breath. The less stressed you are, the greater the range of your heart rate variability.

We normally measure heart rate in beats per minute, and we assume that a regular steady rhythm is good. However, when we measure heart rate in milliseconds, we find that the time between two heartbeats is never the same.

In fact, a steady regular heart rate is the last thing you want! Imagine a tennis player waiting for her opponent’s serve. She doesn’t take a solid stand, and she doesn’t move in a predictable direction or in repetitive ways: she keeps moving, jumping, randomly shifting from one foot to the other. This is how she remains ready to respond in any direction at any time.

A healthy heart is always adjusting to the internal and external environment: a healthy heart rate is irregular! It is resilient, responsive, adapting moment to moment. It is alive. So don’t worry and don’t be nervous if you notice your heart speeding up or slowing down. It is doing its job; it is serving you!

Paced Breathing increases heart rate variability and strengthens the heart!

Practice breathing at a rate of 6 breaths per minute for a Healthy Heart!

We can create what is known as “Heart Coherence” by consciously breathing at a rate of 6 breaths per minute, in as little as five minutes.

Heart coherence refers to the continuous fluctuations in the heart rate. It is associated with a positive state or mood—a feeling of inner balance and centeredness—alert yet relaxed, energized yet calm.

There are a number of ways to create heart coherence. There are cognitive methods, for example, visualization. When we imagine or remember a pleasant event or a wonderful experience, the heart tends toward coherence.

There are emotional methods. When you generate feelings like love and affection, compassion, goodwill, gratitude, etc., you create heart coherence. And there are evocation methods: we can repeat affirmations, declarations, positive verbal statements, prayers, mantras, and so on.

However, the quickest and most effective way to guarantee heart coherence is thru conscious breathing.

Heart coherence is at its maximum when a resonant frequency of 6 respiratory cycles per minute is attained. In other words, when you breathe 6 times per minute, you trigger heart coherence.

Studies show measurable benefits with just 5 minutes of paced breathing at a rate of 6 breaths per minute, 3 times per day, can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) by up to 20%!

6 Breaths Per Minute is called a “Resonant Frequency,” because it matches the natural frequency of the heart, lungs, and aorta—the cardio-pulmonary system

Paced breathing at 6 breaths per minute automatically creates heart coherence. 6 breaths per minute means a 5 second inhale and a 5 second exhale.

You are taking conscious control of an involuntary part of yourself. Your Breathing Practice should be a daily ritual, like showering or brushing your teeth.

A daily practice of Conscious Breathing results in higher levels of fitness and performance, a healthier heart, and a longer life. So start today!

Use this practice formula:

3 times per day
6 breaths per minute
5 minutes duration

Make your in-breaths and your out-breaths last for 5 seconds each. There is an imperceptible pause between inhales and exhales. In this way, you create heart coherence and heart resonance.

Sit straight and strong, but relaxed and at ease. It’s easier to breathe fully and freely, and to create heart coherence if you are sitting or standing upright.

Create a conscious intention before each session. Stated it as an affirmation, an assertion, a command or a prayer. For example: “I am strengthening my ability to survive and thrive till I’m a hundred and five!” Or, “May every breath make me stronger, healthier, and more alive!”

Do your first 5-minute practice session as soon as you wake up in the morning, before doing anything else (except perhaps using the toilet). Do this first session before drinking coffee or having breakfast. This is the most important session of the day. Make it a priority.

Do your second 5-minute session about four hours later: just before lunch. This pre midday session clears away stress, and rebalances the nervous system after a hectic morning. It also prepares your system for digestion, and it helps prevent afternoon drowsiness, sleep urge, or “crashing.”

Do your third session at the end of your workday, perhaps in your car after your drive home, or do it before starting your evening. Practice breathing 6 breaths per minute for five minutes to help you shift from work mode to family life.

(On especially long or busy days, you can add one more session, about an hour before sleeping—for example 10 pm)

Breathe in for 5 seconds thru your nose, focusing on sending the breath low into your belly. (It’s ok to breathe in thru your mouth if that feels more comfortable, interesting, or enjoyable.)

Breathe out for 5 seconds, perhaps thru pursed lips as if you are blowing thru a straw to make bubbles in your drink, or by making a “shhhh” sound. Some people like to hum on the exhale. Do what feels comfortable or enjoyable.

Be fully mindful of each breath when you practice. Focus one hundred percent on the subtle sensations of breathing. This is how we access our unconscious autonomic system and take control of so-called involuntary patterns.

Remember the Formula:

3 times per day
6 breaths per minute
5 minutes practice duration

To reinforce the breathing signal, focus on your heart. (You can even put your hand(s) over your heart.) Focus on positive emotions, wonderful images, and positive intentions.

Us the “shhhh” sound on the exhale, or purse your lips as if blowing thru a straw to make bubbles in your drink.

Do one or two minutes of practice before an important meeting or activity, to calm and focus yourself, to prepare physiologically. Do it when you become emotionally upset or offended. Use it when you lose your cool!

Breathing at resonant frequency not only helps you, it also influences the hearts of those who are close to you. Practice it when your children become agitated, Try it when your baby cries, or when your spouse is angry, upset, or in pain.


  1. Heart rate variability is the ability of the heart to accelerate and decelerate in relation to changes in your internal and external environment. The range of this variability reflects your capacity to adapt to change and cope with change.

  2. Heart chaos is the normal state of the heart rate variability curve. The heart accelerates and decelerates in a seemingly random fashion as it adapts moment to moment to our internal and external environment.

  3. Heart coherence is a specific state of increased heart rate variability induced by paced breathing. It represents inner harmony and balance, and it results in many beneficial effects on health and wellbeing.

  4. Heart resonance is a specific state of heart coherence attained when breathing consciously and deeply at a frequency of 6 times a minute (0.1 Hz).


Read the book “365: Heart Coherence” by David O’Hare

Join the International Breathing Circle.

Participate in the One Year Breathwork Seminar

Take Advantage of Professional Coaching and Peer Support.

For more information about Breathwork, please go to

Download your free copy of my book, "Shut Up AndBreathe!"

PS: If you are ready to get onto the Path of Breath Mastery right now, you can enroll in the 60-Day Online Course: "21 Lessons in the Art and Science of Breathwork." Visit:

Or, join my Breath Mastery Inner Circle, and freely access almost 40 years of breath and breathing research, articles, essays, audio/video files, seminar transcripts, workshop handouts, and even complete training manuals! Visit:


(*) NOTE: None of this is meant as a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical condition or any health concerns, consult your physician or a qualified medical professional before starting any exercise program.

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Author's Bio: 

Dan Brulé has studied and practiced breathwork with more than 80,000 people in over 40 countries since 1976. His travel and teaching schedule is posted at