What is Box Breathing?

I’ve been doing box breathing as part of my morning routine since November 2016.
10 minutes each morning sets me up for the day.
If the moment takes me and I have time I’ll go for 20 minutes but that’s quite rare.

Sometimes I’ll do box breathing during the day if things get on top of me, doing 5-10 breaths when needed.

To watch the video to support this blog scroll down or click here.

What is box breathing?

Ideally, sit somewhere quiet and comfortable. If that’s not possible, box breathing can be done anywhere.

  1. Begin by fully exhaling, emptying your lungs *
  2. Inhale for 4 **
  3. Hold for 4
  4. Exhale for 4
  5. Hold for 4
  6. Repeat from point 2. Do as many rounds as needed
  • Take each inhale down into your abdomen, then fill your rib cage.
  • Fully exhale each breath.
  • Box breathing can be done for either a set amount of time or a number of breaths, depending on how much time you have.
  • I like to set 10 minutes on the timer on my phone so I don’t have to look at a watch or clock.
  • I prefer to do it with my eyes closed so I do not get distracted and can focus on my breath.
  • As you progress and your breath holds improve, you can slow down the count of four.

* This empties the lungs of carbon dioxide and prepares them to be filled with oxygen. If the lungs are not emptied, carbon dioxide can remain, meaning when you inhale, you will not gain the full capacity of oxygen. I will write more on this in a future blog.

** I prefer inhaling and exhaling through the nose, using a breath like the ujjayi breath. However, an inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth is fine.

What are the benefits of box breathing?

I have been doing box breathing since November 2017.
Below are the benefits I have experienced since doing it.

  • An instant sense of calm
    This simple breath routine is simple and easy.
    It can be done anywhere and for as little as 3 breaths.
    It calms the body and mind helping relieve the feeling of stress and anxiety.
  • Meditative
    It allows us to focus on our breath, similar to meditation.
    It could be considered less spiritual than meditation and more functional.
  • Clarity of thought
    If you’re struggling to make a decision or your brain feels full or fuzzy, 10 minutes of box breathing can help clarify thoughts.
  • Increased physical and mental wellbeing
    Research indicates that box breathing can:
    – regulate the autonomic nervous system †
    – lower blood pressure
    – stimulate to the parasympathetic nervous system ††
    – help with insomnia
    – manage pain

† the system in charge of our organs
†† conserves energy and calms the body – this happens as a result of the build-up of CO2 during the breath holds


I love how box breathing forces me to be conscious – focusing on my breath and the count of 4. Doing 10 breaths before an important meeting is incredible!

Some days I am good at box breathing – getting in the zone. My breath holds are strong and I feel like a zen master. Other days can be lumpy with my mind wandering and my breathing feeling restricted.
The days where I am rubbish at it are the ones I need it the most.
Take each day as it is.

Do you do box breathing already? If so, what benefits do you get from it?
Are going to try it as a result of this blog?
I’d love to hear from you – reach out to me on social media and let me know.