“Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment - the key to all inner transformation. Whenever you are conscious of the breath, you are absolutely present. You may also notice that you cannot think and be aware of your breathing. Conscious breathing stops your mind.”
- Eckhart Tolle
Breath is one of the most underrated, overlooked tools that we have access to 24/7. Breathwork has been talked about more frequently these past few years, as more research is done into the healing power that simple breathwork practices provide. There are various types of breathwork and each has its own purposes and benefits, including relaxation, releasing anxiety, calming nerves, grounding, mental clarity and improving lung health and vitality, just to name a few.
Box breathing is a type of breathing exercise that requires your full presence and focus. This type of breathing helps to slow down your heart rate and calm your nervous system. It is especially useful in times of acute stress or anxiety, where you may feel yourself starting to spiral or lose control of your emotions (we’ve all been there). Your mind is distracted with the counting as you breathe, which allows your body to release stress and re-center. Box breathing is a great exercise to practice for a couple minutes when you are feeling stressed at work, overwhelmed with heavy emotions, or anytime your body feels like it is in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Close your eyes and breathe in specific counts, while visualizing a box or square:
Inhale to the count of 4, as you move up the left side of a box.
Hold your breath for a count of 4, as you move left to right across the top edge.
Exhale for a count of 4, moving down the right side, to the bottom.
Hold for another count of 4, as you move right to left along the bottom edge.
Repeat for several cycles, for at least 2 minutes.
*You can choose how long the count is, but keep all counts equal on each side of the box. Start with a count of 4, and after practicing a few times, challenge yourself by increasing the count to 5 or 6.