If you are interested in adding breathwork to your health and wellness toolkit, then this article, which looks at exploring the four-square breath, might be for you.
Breathwork: Exploring the Four-Square Breath
Four-square breathing is another breathing technique that is like it sounds. People also refer to this breathing pattern as the box breath, as you kind of make a box with your breath.
So, as its name sounds, you take the same time for the inhale and the exhale, making these even or equal. But what about the other two sides of a four-sided square?
Here’s how you practice this breathwork, the four-square breath.
How to Practice the Four-Square Breathing Technique
Start by finding an easeful seat. Sit long and tall through the spine. Relax the shoulders away from the ears. You can keep your eyes open, closed, or just take a soft gaze toward the ground.
If you can, breathe through the nose. Inhale and exhale through both nostrils.
Inhale to the count of four. Hold your breath for four counts. Then exhale to the count of four. Pause for four more counts. Repeat for several rounds.
Pretty easy, right?
Use Box Breathing to Meditate
The four-square breath works by distracting the mind from other thoughts. Think about it… how can you think if you’re counting to four repeatedly?
By focusing on the four counts, you keep your attention focused on the present moment. Rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future, your mind stays active in the here and now.
Benefits of Four-Square Breathing
Four-square breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique that can help return your breathing pattern to a relaxed rhythm. It can clear and calm your mind, improving your focus. Box breathing can reduce stress and improve your mood.
The four-square breath can calm the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary body functions, such as temperature or blood pressure. Box breathing can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.
Contraindications of the Four-Square Breath
We are not offering medical advice or information in this post. Please consult your doctor or medical professional before accessing any breathing exercises.
Pregnant women should avoid holding their breath. Also, people suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure should refrain from holding their breath.
Let’s Practice Together!
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About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a board-certified holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.
Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach, nature lover, and avid meditator.
Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bulls. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.