Focus is especially important during competitive sports, and the box breathing technique can help to heighten your performance and concentration while being a powerful stress reliever. So why not give it a go to see if it gives you an edge?
Box breathing involves a simple four-second rotation of breathing in, holding your breath, breathing out, holding your breath, and repeating. It’s also known as four-square breathing, Navy SEAL breathing, or tactical breathing. One of the goals of box breathing is to bring the respiratory system back into alignment and end the shallow breathing that results from the fight or flight response mode the body enters when you’re feeling stressed. It’s a surprisingly simple and effective way to help you regain a sense of calm.
Before you begin, sit up straight in a comfy chair or in a quiet place (indoors or out). And don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone! Then just follow these easy steps, using the below drawing to help if you like, and focusing on your intention.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Feel the air fill up your lungs, a little bit at a time, until your lungs are completely full and the air lifts your abdomen.
Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs completely. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
With your lungs empty, hold your breath for another slow count of four before repeating this process from Step 1.
Repeat for as many times as you need in order to regain your focus.
Tell us, have you tried box breathing? How has it helped you to focus and relieve stress in your sport?