Today I’m going to talk about box breathing. Now I first learned about box breathing from Mark Divine, a fantastic author, founder of SEALFIT, a former Navy Seal, and also just a great inspiration. I highly recommend doing a quick Google search and seeing some of Mark’s writings, as well as his videos. Well worth your time.
I currently use box breathing with my clients, as well as in my daily practice. Before I get into how to use box breathing, let me talk about some of the benefits and some of the ways that I utilize it currently that I think might benefit you. Box breathing really allows you to really kind of slow down, center yourself, and really apply some focus. I’ll use it in the car while driving as a way of just getting myself centered, calming myself down from the hectic day to day life that sometimes occurs. I also use box breathing just as a walking therapy or a walking meditation.
Oftentimes with clients, I’ll use box breathing at the beginning of a session just to really get them calm, centered, and focused. Most of my clients are, in fact, all of them are business owners, and so oftentimes they get really stressed or really busy as business owners tend to do. Box breathing allows them to calm themselves down, get centered, especially before going home, where they have to check in with their family relationships and check business to the side.
What is box breathing? What I want you to do is picture a box. A box is going to have four sides. We’re going to use all four of those sides with four-second counts. First what you’re going to do is inhale, doing a belly deep diaphragm inhale through the nose at a four-second count. Once you finish that, you’re going to hold for four seconds, slowly open your mouth and let the air naturally come out from your pursed lips. Once you’ve actually exhaled all your air after the four seconds, go ahead and hold for another four seconds before repeating the process by inhaling through your nose once again.
Again, that’s four seconds inhale through the nose, followed by a four-second hold, a four second gentle exhale through the lips, followed again by a four-second hold. Even if you’re driving in the car or walking or watching this right now on a video, let’s go ahead and try it together.
I should warn you, although I’ve never seen this happen … It’s kind of the common warning we always do with breathing exercises, is some people can get faint due to lack of oxygen. What I want you to do is just take it easy and just know your own body. For this one, we are going to do the four seconds, but I’m going to assume you know your own body, so we’ll just go ahead and go with that cautionary tale.
All right. We’re going to inhale for four, three, two, one. Hold, four, three, two, one. Gently exhale, four, three, two, one. Hold, four, three, two, one. Repeat the process from there. I think that you could find box breathing really instrumental in your daily practice. This is something you can anywhere you are. Really helps me get centered and focused.
For me, being the author of my own story, I only work certain days of the week. During those days, I really catch up on email. I catch up on things that are going on with my team. They’re located all over the world. Oftentimes I have three screens going at once. When I have three screens going, admittedly, focus is really difficult. Sometimes when I’m really getting in the zone and I’m going from one screen to the other, I recognize that I’m not able to produce the quality creative material that I may want to.
I’ll take a step back and perform about six to seven rounds of box breathing, get myself recentered, reaffirm my outcome that I want for that day or that task that I’m working on, and move forward. I find this helps with all aspects of my life, whether it’s working out, my relationships. It really helps calm things down in a heated situation or allows me to reset my caliber, moving from one task to maybe my family when I’m done with work. It also helps me in business, coming up with creative solutions or thinking kind of outside the box. No pun intended there.
Whatever you decide to use box breathing for, I highly recommend giving it a shot. That’s it for me today.
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