Poses & Techniques,  Research Studies

Reduce Stress & Strengthen Your Diaphragm through Box Breathing

How To Box Breath:

  • Sit in a comfortable seated position, hands resting in your lap.
  • Inhale slowly while you count to 4 in your head. (Inhale…1…2…3…4)
  • Hold at the top of the inhale for a 4 count. (Hold…1…2…3…4)
  • Exhale slowly for a 4 count. (Exhale…1…2…3…4)
  • Hold at the bottom of your exhale for a 4 count. (Hold…1…2…3…4)
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times up to 2x’s a day!

Reduce Stress & Strengthen Your Diaphragm with Breathing Exercises

Box Breathing

Breathing is part of our autonomic nervous system which means that we do it automatically- without thinking! So it’s probably no surprise that you haven’t put much thought into how or when you breath or how that breathing impacts your nervous system. But that’s a mistake because breathing can have a direct impact on our nervous system and subsequently, our emotions.

For example, think about a time you were nervous or anxious. How was your breath? It may be hard to recall since, again, we don’t often think about our breath, but it was probably short and shallow. This kind of breathing can worsen the feeling of negative symptoms as it triggers our nervous system to remain in a stressed state. 

But thankfully you can do something to help regulate your nervous system and return you to a relaxed and comfortable state of mind. This is through different breathing practices or techniques- many which you can do in just a few short minutes! How great is that??

A favorite breathing practice of mine, specifically for stroke survivors, is called Box Breathing. Box Breathing is great because of its simplicity in practice, ability to be practiced anywhere, and its physical benefits. All you have to remember is to breath in a count of 4:


  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 4
  • Exhale for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath out for a count of 4

It can be helpful to image a box while practicing this breath. Each count of 4 is a side of the box. I even like to move my finger through the air in the shape of a box to help me stay focused when my mind wanders. Practice is Box Breath up to 2x’s a day to help with anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions, build diaphragm capacity, and to help regulate breath for smoother speech and pronunciation!

Ready to give it a try? Use the outline to the left of this article as a guideline and email me at Rachael@unalomelotus.com to let me know how your practice went!

Our online chair yoga classes for stroke, traumatic brain injury, and adults with limited mobility use grounding techniques and breathing exercises like Box Breathing to help members improve their physical and mental health. Learn more about our chair yoga classesAdaptive Chair Yoga here or sign up by calling us at 720-505-4015!


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Benefits of Yoga

Classes are designed to build strength, endurance, and neuroplasticity. Learn more about the other benefits a consistent practice can bring!



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