Yogic box breathing calms your mind.Are you feeling anxious in a crazy world? Yeah, us too. It's been that kind of month, year, decade, millennium. And lately, it's been hitting many of us even harder. Thanks, COVID-19.

There is a slew of remedies out there to help us combat anxiety. Yoga, meditation, exercise, two fingers of scotch served neat, and more prescription medication than any medicine cabinet can hold. But one of the easiest (and one you can do almost anywhere without getting the side-eye from passers-by) is Box Breathing. Plus, it's free, and you don't need a prescription or your stretchy pants to do it.

So, what the heck is Box Breathing?

Box breathing is a calming technique originating with breathwork called pranayama practiced in yoga. Not into yoga? You don't have to assume the lotus position to take advantage of its calming effect. It's called box breathing because it consists of four equal parts, like the lines of a box, and works by slowing your breathing, so you relax, increase your oxygen levels, release tension, and stimulate your vagus nerve, which starts in your brain and runs the length of your spine.

How to box breathe

  1. Set a timer for five minutes.
  2. Sit straight in a chair with your feet flat or cross-legged on the floor with your spine straight.
  3. Close your eyes and inhale for a count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  5. Exhale for a count of four.
  6. Hold for a count of four.
  7. Repeat until the timer dings.

Like any good habit you're trying to develop, the more you practice this, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes, the more you'll do it. And the more you do it, the more benefits you'll get.

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