Conscious breathing is an aspect of all forms of meditation and yoga. Emerging research indicates that the effects of controlled breathing on the mind-body system and concomitant mental states warrants further investigation. We propose a two-phase investigation of breathing practices during which we will: (1) systematically review the literature on reported effects of voluntarily regulated breathing practices (VRBPs) on psychophysiological and psychological outcomes, and (2) conduct a pilot study to examine the effect of one specific breathing practice—coherent breathing (gentle breathing paced at five breaths per minute)—on self-regulation, cognition, and problem solving under stress. The purpose of this project is twofold. First, we seek to establish a line of rigorous research into the use of controlled breathing for a variety of adaptive outcomes. Second, we aim to collect preliminary data on the effects of coherent breathing to prepare for a randomized controlled trial. Our interdisciplinary team brings together an experimental psychologist with expertise in self-regulation and mindfulness, a cognitive and computer scientist with expertise in affective and cognitive modeling and physiological sensing, and a psychiatrist with expertise in VRBPs. The project’s focus coupled with researcher capabilities allows us to make needed empirical and theoretical advances to contemplative science.