Box Breathing

Box breathing is a simple technique that a person can do anywhere, including at your desk, in a coffeeshop, or while driving.

How to Box Breathe

When done at home or the office: Sit with their back as erect as possible in a comfortable chair and their feet on the floor – or sit on the floor, back erect, legs crossed, hands in your lap or on your knees. Close your eyes, if you are in a place where you can safely do so.

When driving, or in public places where you don’t want to draw attention to your practice, you can keep your eyes open and remain alert while performing box breathing.

  1. Breathe in through your nose while counting to five slowly. Start with expanding your belly, then fill the lungs – filling your lungs as completely as possible. Take all 5 seconds to inhale.
  2. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to five. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid exhaling for 5 seconds.
  3. Begin to slowly exhale for 5 seconds. Make sure you exhale fully – first from your belly then your lungs. Take all 5 seconds to exhale.
  4. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps 1 thru 4 as many times as you like, or until calm returns. For morning rituals, I like to perform 5-10 minutes of box breathing.

You may need to start with shorter periods (like 3 or 4 seconds). As you train yourself daily using this technique you’ll be able to extend the time longer and longer.

Benefits

  • Can be performed anywhere, at any time
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves focus
  • Promotes positive emotions
  • Increases mental clarity
  • May reduce blood pressure

These benefits are most noticeable with a long-term practice (the benefits make some time to show). Make this a daily habit (or even several times a day), and when you need a short-term reduction in stress or increase in focus, you’ll be able to access that quickly using box breathing.

Mark Divine – former SEAL Commander, founder of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind

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