Box Breathing Meditation Method: Meaning, Benefits and More

Regardless of its quirky name, the box breathing method is a much-celebrated meditation practice to cope with stress and anxiety. A lot of people – including marine commandos and athletes – practice pranayama box breathing regularly for optimal productivity. Yet there are many men and women who are clueless about its benefits. 

In this blog, Ekattva Yogshala will share everything crucial about the box breathing meditation method. From meaning to benefits and steps to perform it to other breathing techniques, we will cover all important aspects. 

Let’s put our heads together about its meaning first! 

What is a box-breathing meditation method?

Have you ever found yourself inhaling and exhaling to the rhythm while listening to pop music or running? Box breathing meditation is just like that. It’s a simple yet powerful meditation technique that is used to return the breathing to its normal rhythm. 

Also called square breathing, box breathing is based on counts of four. This meditation technique can heighten performance and concentration by acting as a powerful stress reliever. 

Box breathing meditation benefits

There are umpteen benefits of the box breathing method. Here are the proven advantages: 

#1 Regulates autonomic nervous system

For those who don’t know, the autonomic nervous system is a segment of the external nervous system that modulates impulsive physiologic processes including human heart rate, BP, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. It basically has three divisions — sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric. 

When you encounter a threat, your autonomic nervous system kicks in, releasing stress hormones that help you either run or fight back. Box breathing meditation method helps you deactivate your sympathetic division and turns on the parasympathetic part. In simple words, it controls your emotional reactivity. 

#2 Reduces stress

Stress is a key to survival. It triggers a fight or flight response and activates our immune system. But taking too much stress can be detrimental. Scientists say that if stress stays around for weeks or months, it weakens the immune system and causes high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and even heart disease. 

Breath boxing can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. While practicing this meditation technique, practitioners are able to focus better and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that might be crowding the mind and causing stress. 

#3 Treats generalized anxiety disorder 

According to ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association Of America), GAD affects around 6.8 million adults; 3.1% of the US population to be more precise. The exact cause of this disorder is still unknown, but research states that biological factors, family background, and life experience (stressful ones) could be possible reasons. 

If you are already struggling with anxiety, practicing the box breathing meditation technique regularly might help you overcome it. It will help you learn to accept all worries without letting them disturb the mind. 

#4 Eliminates sleeping disorders 

National Institutes of Health says that around 7% to 19% of adults reportedly do not get enough sleep and 40% fall asleep during the day once or twice a month. To many of you, this might sound normal but sleeping disorders can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Ignoring them could lead to weight gain, car accidents, impaired job performance, and memory issues. 

Box breathing meditation and pranayama can help you sleep better. Since it’s a relaxation technique, it can lull the mind and body while improving inner peace. If done before bedtime, it might reduce insomnia and sleep troubles by promoting calmness. 

Aside from a box breathing technique, practice these yoga poses for better sleep 

#5 Pain management 

When chronic pain holds the fort even after taking conventional measures,  it will be worth trying box breathing meditation. It takes different thoroughfares to reach your brain, especially those used by other pain treatments. As time passes by, the box breathing technique alters your brain structure to better sermonize on pain. 

Now that you understand the meaning and benefits of the box breathing meditation technique, it’s time to learn how to perform it! 

DIY steps to perform box breathing meditation

Are you ready to perform this meditation technique all by yourself? Great! Here are the DIY steps to perform box breathing meditation: 

  • Start the practice by keeping your spine upright. 
  • Close your mouth and eyes and exhale all the air out of your lungs. 
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, while counting 1-2-3-4 in your mind. 
  • Now close the value at the back of your throat (lower esophageal sphincter) and hold your breath for the same count. Keep a slight lifting gut reaction as opposed to coming down on like a ton of bricks.
  • Exhale slowly from your nose while counting till 4. Hold your breath again after the exhale. 
  • Repeat the above steps until you feel re-centered. 

Watch this video on box breathing meditation for more clarity:

Other breathing meditation techniques 

We hope that by now, you have figured out how to perform box breathing or 4-4-4-4 exercise. But do you know that after using this basic pattern for some time, you can try advanced breathing techniques too? No kidding! 

Here are some breathing techniques that can help you with and how they are performed.

  • 4-7-8 breathing meditation technique: Developed by an internationally renowned doctor and integrative medicine pioneer — Dr. Andrew Weil,  4-7-8 is the advanced way of managing anxiety and stress for men and women. The technique follows this easy pattern — breathe into the count of 4; hold your breath to the count of 7 and breathe out to the count of 8. 

Join online meditation and breathwork classes for inner balance and stress management.

  • Mindful breathing technique: A mindful breathing is a powerful mindfulness meditation practice that asks the practitioner to focus the attention on breathing— to its natural rhythm and flow and the way it feels on each inhale and exhale. It serves as a galver that can turn your ship’s direction (ATTENTION) to positive thoughts whenever you begin feeling stressed or get carried away by negative thoughts. 
  • Pranayama breathing technique: People have been practicing pranayama breathing techniques as yoga breathing exercises for thousands of years. Pranayama benefits run the gamut from better sleep and less muscle tension to a clearer and more focused mind. Unlike other meditation techniques, it’s quite simple and easy to learn. 

Final words 

Remember, box breathing can deliver a vigorous buzz of calm and focus. You might feel uncomfortable while performing it for the first time but once you get a firm hold on it, the practice can be liberating. 

Make sure to take it easy and slow and over time, you might have a new stress buster tool on your hands. Got any queries to ask? Send them to and have them answered by our yoga and meditation experts! 

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