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Breathwork Practice #2 – Box Breathing

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

What is box breathing?

Box breathing is a variation of belly breathing that involves drawing the breath into the diaphragm for a set count (say a count of 4) and exhaling the breath out for a set count (say another count of 4). The basic form is breathing in for a count of 4 and breathing out for a count of 4.

A progression to this practice is to extend the exhales. So, breathe in for a count of 4 and then breathe out for a count of 6, 8, or 10.

Benefits of box breathing:

Box breathing, similarly to diaphragmatic breathing, has stress-reducing effects. The added benefit of this exercise is the enhancement of focus that comes with counting. This practice also aids in regulatory control of the breath, which can be particularly helpful during stressful (good and bad) events. People with lung disease often find this type of breathing especially helpful as it stimulates lung tissue and strengthens respiratory muscles.

Box Breathing How To:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position

  • Keep good posture

  • Empty the lungs

  • Breathe in (deeply and slowly) through the nose for a count of 4 allowing the breath to expand the belly

  • Pause the breath for a moment at the top

  • Breathe out (slowly) through the nose or mouth for a count of 4 as the belly gently contracts

  • Pause the breath for a moment at the bottom

  • Breathe like this for several minutes

  • Progress this exercise by breathing in through the nose for a count of 4 and then extending the breath for a count of 6 then try 8, 10, 12 (if you have the lung capacity)

  • Enjoy!


  • Focus on the air filling your lungs a little more with each count as the belly and chest expand

  • Then focus on the air emptying out of your lungs as your belly and chest gently recoil

  • Allow yourself to relax; don’t strain

  • Simply Be. Enjoy!

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