The Easiest Breathing Exercise You’ll Do!

The thought of doing “breathing exercises” may make your eyes momentarily glaze over in boredom. However, research continues to confirm the benefits of a meditative state – which is exactly what breathing exercises allow you to enjoy. Some of these benefits include improved cardiovascular function, lower incidence of acute cardiac incidents, increased overall balance, decreased stress, improved nervous system regulation, improved immune function, enhanced cognition, concentration and memory, and more.

Part of what can be challenging with any meditative exercise is quieting your mind enough to allow yourself to fully be present without your thoughts jumping around to this, that and the other thing. It can also be hard for some people to focus on their breathing…some teachers say this very casually, but it can be quite difficult! Becoming present with yourself and just be-ing in the moment is where you get the to experience the real beauty of meditation.

So, breathing exercises. There are many techniques out there. One of the best and simplest that we’ve come across is Four Square Breathing. It’s super easy to remember too: a square has four sides, so everything is in four’s. Four by four, if you will.

Four Square Breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable seat or place to lie down. If you are seated, sit cross-legged or with your feet flat on the ground; rest your hands in your palm or on your thighs. If you are lying down, lie on your back with your arms at your side.

  2. Close your eyes.

  3. Become aware of your body and feel a sense of calm, as you are in a relaxing, peaceful place (if this is hard, skip this step for now).

  4. Inhale slowly as you count to four in your head.

  5. At the top of your inhale, hold your breath as you count to four in your head.

  6. Now slowly exhale as you count to four in your head.

  7. Hold your breathe again for a count of four.

  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 several times (as much as you want, really!).

  9. When you are done, take a moment to breathe normally, being aware of your body again, before opening your eyes. Ahh…you will feel a greater sense of peace now.

The slower you can go with counting to four in your head, and the slower your breathing, the deeper you get into a more mindful state. If your mind starts to wander at all, gently bring it back to your breathe and continue, no judgement – it’s all a process.

Four Square Breathing is beautiful in its simplicity and effective at guiding your mind into a more meditative state. Use this as a tool to honor your being. Make this a routine, once or twice a day, for as much or as little time as you can (even just 30 seconds!).

The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.