If you’ve been to any of our Reformer Pilates classes over the past few months you may have experienced box breathing during your workout. While it may be new to you and to our teaching methods, box breathing is an ancient technique with Ayurvedic roots.
The practice of slowing your breathing with intention helps to calm your mind, release anxiety, engage the parasympathetic nervous system, and stay grounded in the present moment.
If you haven’t experienced box breathing in our studio or somewhere else, you’re probably wondering what it is?
You may have heard it called Square Breathing, Four Square Breathing, Yogic Breathing or something else but it always follows a specific breathing pattern where you breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold, for the same number of counts.
Each step makes up the four sides of the box;
Using this method of breathwork and focusing on your conscious breath allows you to regulate your body, taking it from a state of high-stress and anxiety to calm. This can be especially powerful during times of tension or overstimulation.
You’ve experienced states of stress before, your body becomes tense, your breathing short and sharp and your heart rate quickens. Often your mind is moving a mile a minute and you’ll enter into fight-or-flight mode.
Focusing on your breathing during a time like this can restore your body’s nervous system to a parasympathetic state, allowing you to calm and focus your mind, lower your heart rate and return to a rested state.
Sometimes it can feel impossible to quiet our minds or focus on the task at hand as our thoughts begin racing around. By utilising a mindful breathing practice (like box breathing) your mind is forced to draw your attention away from overwhelming thoughts. Your brain becomes fixated on your breathing, one act rather than many thoughts. The more you practice box breathing the better your brain will become at focusing on one task at a time.
One of the reasons we love to incorporate box breathing into our Reformer Pilates classes is that we know (from experience) how your mind begins to worry about the rest of the day as your class comes to an end. Instead of being present in the final minutes of your you-time, you’re already listing off your day’s tasks.
Focusing on your breath at the end of class allows you to become present, to appreciate this time you have taken for yourself and feel gratitude for your accomplishment.
Box breathing will connect you more deeply with your body and help you to feel more grounded, you don’t need any equipment or even a secluded place to get started, it can be done anywhere at any time.
How to Box Breathe: