There is a reason why everyone from Navy Seals, elite athletes, to stressed out parents use this breathing style.
Learn Box Breathing
Box breathing has become a go-to breathing technique in recent years for a lot of great reasons.
What is box breathing? Here are the basics:
- Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds.
- Hold for 4 seconds.
If you only have time to do 4 cycles, in about 2 minutes you’ll feel the difference. Even better, if you can get in 5 minutes or more, you will get even more benefits.
Now that’s you’ve got the basics, let’s take a look at how this easy breathing exercise will help you out.
Box Breathing Benefits
- Easy to Remember - the whole idea behind the name box breathing is to make it easier to remember under pressure. So you can call it box breathing, square breathing, 4*4 breathing or whatever is easiest for you. There are a lot of great exercises out there for different uses, but you can think of Square Breathing as the jack of all trades, and can get the job done in all situations.
- Gets the body and mind out of fight or flight mode - when you are stuck in fight or flight, it is harder to focus, you feel anxious, and jumpy. This is obviously not ideal for a lot of reasons, including making it harder to make good decisions, get dialed in, and breathe efficiently. Box breathing will help lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breaths per minute, and even lower the stress chemicals in your body.
- Find Calm - that's right, when we get out of fight or flight, we feel calmer, less stressed and less jumpy. All those stress hormones in the body such as adrenaline, and cortisol serve important purposes, but if they show up at the wrong time, such as when we are under excessive pressure, it can lead to missed shots, bad decisions, volatile emotions.
- Find Focus - When we are less stressed it is much easier to focus on the mission at hand, whether on the battlefield, on the court, or in the boardroom and here is where a proper stress management technique comes in handy. When your heart rate slows down it tells your body that you are safe and there is no need to be worried about the threat lurking. This lets your brain direct all of your attention to the task at hand.
- Perform Better - it's no secret, if you can’t focus you can’t perform your best. When you are able to concentrate and cut out all of the noise the job gets done, and the job gets done better.
Benefits of Box Breathing
Perform at Your Best
“Breathing is a lost art and science, “ according to NY Times best seller James Nestor. If you are not using box breathing, or other techniques daily, you are not performing your best.
And you are definitely not living your best life if you are not breathing properly.
Want to learn more about breathing better?
Check out breathing 101 certification course at the Academy from Anahana to give you the tools, confidence, and support to take your breathing and your life to the next level.
Written by Clint Johnson
Clint teaches Yoga, Pilates, breath, and mediation to students and teachers all over the world. Prior to joining the wellness world, CJ as his friends call him, started his career as a MBS derivative trader and portfolio manager on Wall St. Clint is the founder of Anahana, and holds an MBA from INSEAD.