The Hoberman Sphere – A mindful breathing tool (Part 1)


Disclaimer:  For some people, this may not be a beneficial tool or may cause problems due to previous or unknown medical conditions.  Please consult a physician before engaging in this mindful breathing activity.

I’ve been incorporating mindful breathing with several clients I work with over the past year or so.  Most people are easily able to regulate inhalation and exhalation without much difficulty.  But I ‘ve noticed that there are still many people who cannot control either

  1. breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, or
  2. breathing in and out through the nose in a rhythmical and consistent pattern

When people become agitated or anxious, we often ask them to calm down by breathing in and out.  Sounds simple, right?  Well for some it’s not.  They can’t perform this simple task.  Then what happens?  The person then becomes more agitated or more anxious.

So enter the Hoberman Sphere.

The Hoberman Sphere.  When I had first heard this word, I had no idea what it was.  I imagined it to be this very intricate, shiny, almost elusive mathematical object that was only present in theory.  However, when someone showed it me, I realized I had seen it years ago in a box with other fine motor items.  I thought it looked cool and it seemed like it was a neat idea – it would expand and contract.  And that was that.

Fast forward to last year when it was reintroduced to me.  It was then that I realized that my own roommate had one, neatly tucked away – in sight – but not in use.  I again was intrigued by this special object.

For those of you, who have no idea what it is, it’s simply “an isokinetic structure patented by Chuck Hoberman that resembles a geodesic dome, but is capable of folding down to a fraction of its normal size by the scissor-like action of its joints…with the original design capable of expanding from 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in diameter to 76 centimetres (30 in).”(1)  So basically it’s this cool, plastic, colorful device that expands and contracts by the user’s movement.

So…how do we use this awesome “little” device in a mindful way?

Think of it as a giant lung.  It expands to fill itself up with air.  Then it contracts to blow out the air.  This is a great visual tool to help those who need additional guidance to perform mindful breathing.

Below I have listed some steps to incorporate this device to help with mindful breathing.  Remember this might take some time to become proficient in.  So be patient.

  1. Hold the Hoberman Sphere about an arm’s length in front of you with both hands holding the points on opposite ends of the sphere.
  2. Slowly pull the points out in a horizontal manner to the largest size it can expand to.
  3. Then slowly push the points back in, in a horizontal manner, to the smallest size it collapses to.
  4. Be able to demonstrate the ability to expand and collapse the sphere in a consistent and rhythmical pattern.

Now we incorporate breathing.

  1. Expand and watch the sphere grow.  At the same, expand and fill the lungs with air.
  2. Hold the breath for 3 seconds when the sphere is at its maximum size.
  3. Finally collapse the sphere in a slow manner (as some will want to quickly blow out the air from their nose or mouth) by slowing exhaling the air while the sphere collapses.
  4. Continue this motion for a few times.

***But of course stop this task if any sign of medical problem occurs.***

  1. Continue to practice this motion on your own.

Mindful breathing is a beneficial and powerful activity and the Hoberman Sphere is a great visual tool to help with performing mindful breathing.


In the next post, we will be continuing the discussion of The Hoberman Sphere and its beneficial uses.



  1.  Hoberman Sphere. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
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