Course Curriculum

Box Breathing Pranayama

OVERVIEW

Summary: Breathing in, retaining the breath, breathing out, and retaining empty—each of these steps is regulated so it takes the same amount of time.

This technique is also known as "Square Breathing".

Origin: Yogic

Recording: Home, in 2016

Length: 10:31


NOTES

The general instruction is:

  • Breathe in counting for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  • Breathe out for 4 seconds
  • Hold empty for 4 seconds

That makes it one cycle. Do 15 cycles like this, and your mind will be in a different state. It takes only about 4 minutes, and you can do any time during your day.

Guidelines:

  • Use abdominal breathing for this exercise (you can place your hands on your belly to check that it’s your belly that is moving, not your chest).
  • Breathe in and out through your nose.
  • Breathing in and out should be as deep, even and silent as possible.
  • When breathing in take in plenty of air. When breathing out, expel all the air from your lungs, so you can detox your body.
  • Ratio: If 4 seconds is too hard, you can do 3 seconds; if it's too easy, you can increase the count to 5, 6 or 7.

In this exercise, don’t worry about your thoughts. They will still be there, but will be likely less than usual. Simply focus on your breathing and on the counting of numbers.

And please don’t overthink this. Simply follow the instructions above as best as you can, without worrying about doing it “right”. It’s a simple exercise, and you cannot do this wrong!

DOWNLOADABLE GIFs

Here are three animated images of the Box Breathing, for you to practice with:

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