If you want to change your state of consciousness instantly, then take a deep, slow breath. Repeat this and notice the differences you feel in your mind and body. This technique is available to you any time you want. You can use it before making decisions, or getting a task done, or before an important conversation or any time you have air to breathe. As you play with your breath more and more you will eventually come across a variety of breathing techniques and exercises. Here is one of my favorites!
Four Sided Breathing
It’s called “Four Sided Breathing”, “Square Breathing”, or “Box Breathing”. In this exercise you inhale fully (through your nose) for X seconds. Hold that inhale for another X seconds. Exhale that breath evenly for X seconds. And. finally, hold that empty exhale for X seconds. Then repeat.
Visualization for Four Sided Breathing
Here is a visualization video to illustrate and follow along with.
In this video X = 4 seconds. So inhale for four seconds. Hold full for four seconds. Exhale for four seconds. And hold empty for four seconds. Repeat for 4-8 breaths or whatever you want! You can change the length of the sides (change the number of seconds X equals) but keep all four sides even to do this specific exercise.
We inhale through our nose to prevent a sore throat since the nose acts as a filter. Your breath will flow easier with a straight spine and your shoulders back, expanding your chest wide. Picture a J curve with your spine where your spine is totally straight and then curves back at the bottom section towards your tailbone. Be gentle with yourself and, most importantly, feel comfortable.
For extra fun, when breathing in a full inhale, fill your diaphragm first so your belly rises and then fill your chest. On the exhale work backwards from this. Exhale the air from your upper lungs/chest area. Then squeeze your belly towards your spine as you push out all the air from your diaphragm. And repeat!
I like to do four sided breathing sitting before meditating and laying down on my mat before yoga class. It’s also a great technique to help fall asleep at the end of your day. There are many tools on the utility belt of life; four sided breathing is one of my favorites.
When do you practice breathing exercises? What are your favorites? What do you think of this Four Sided Breathing exercise? Go ahead and leave a comment below to let us know!