Photo credit: Si Clark for Every Second Counts
"You are capable of 20 times more than you think you are." Mark Divine, former Navy SEAL
I first heard about this technique – Box Breathing – from retired Navy SEAL, Commander Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT and creator of The Unbeatable Mind program. His recruits are subjected to the most brutal physical training, culminating in Kokoro Camp, a 3-day challenge modelled after US Navy Seal Hell Week. Alongside the extreme physical training, Divine emphasises the importance of yoga and conscious breathing for developing mental toughness.
Conscious breathing – taking slow, deep, controlled breaths – is the simplest and most accessible way to change your state. Whether you need to psych yourself up to perform at your best or calm yourself down in the face of a stressful situation, controlling your breath is the key.
This is a breathing technique that you can use to get yourself into the zone or to calm yourself down. I recommend that you practice it for a few minutes every day so that it's immediately available to you when you need it. Here are the instructions:
- Sit comfortably.
- Seal your lips and take a deep breath in, completely fill your lungs. Exhale, let all the air out.
- Inhale deeply through your nose for the count of 5. Hold for the count of 5. Exhale for the count of 5. Empty your lungs completely and hold your breath out for the count of 5.
- Continue for 4 rounds.
You can practice this breathing technique:
- Before a stressful event, performance, race, speech or important meeting – anything that requires focus, confidence and presence.
- When you wake up – to start your day with calm and clarity.
- Before bed – to prepare your body and mind for a night of deep and restful sleep.
- Before a workout – repeat 4 rounds of box breathing before your workout to supercharge your efforts.
Box breathing has been a game changer for me. High pressure situations now energise and stimulate me, I'm more focussed and effective in my workouts and I'm able to calm myself down in stressful situations so that I can deal with them more capably.
You will find this and many more breathing videos available to download in my Guided Meditation series. Here is the link: