Box breathing is a simple concentration/meditation exercise. Initially practice in a quiet safe setting where you won’t be distracted. Over time, with practice, you will be able to start using the technique more and more in your daily life; for training, competition, pain management, relaxation etc.
What can Box Breathing help with?
This is by no means an exhaustive list!! But Box Breathing is a structured form of meditation so can help with a range of things including:
- Managing acute and chronic pain
- Stress management
- Anxiety & Depression
- Athletic performance
- High blood pressure
What does Box Breathing do?
Think of box breathing as achieving balance, rather than relaxation. You are looking to achieve a balance between the two parts of your autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest).
When the two systems are balanced people often describe a state of coherence, of calm focus. Your body is in a position to adapt and respond appropriately to situations. Most of the time we are stuck in the sympathetic system, overly alert, agitated, anxious, stressed, with poor digestion, sleep and reduced higher level brain functions causing symptoms like brain fog or misplacing words. Box breathing is just one tool you can use to try and regain balance between these two.
Instructions for Box Breathing
- Find a calm quiet place to perform your breathing practice. This is ideally performed seated as you want to avoid falling asleep.
- Set a timer with a gentle alarm for 5 minutes.
- Relax your gaze and close your eyes if you wish. People often find it easier to maintain concentration with closed eyes.
- Take three deep breaths counting on the inhale and repeating the count on the exhale.
- Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose for a count of three – feeling the sensation of stretch and fullness of your lungs.
- Calmly hold your breath for a count of three – visualise the air travelling through your body and saturating the tissues.
- Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of three – be aware of the softness in your body and the slowing of your heartbeat.
- Calmly hold the exhale for a count of three – focus on the stillness you feel.
Well done!! If you found that useful then download this article in a neat little pdf for future use.
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