The humble owner of the Live Love Yoga Studio on Deale Road in Bloemfontein, Duola Kridiotis, gives this breathing exercise to calm the nerves under stressful situations. She says that box breathing or sama vritti pranayama can reduce stress and improve your mood.
“It’s an exceptional treatment for conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. It is also a great tool for anxious children during exam times,” she explained.
Her advice is that you take slow long inhales and long slow exhales through the nose. “Before you get started with your sama vritti pranayama, make sure you’re seated upright on the floor or a chair, resting your hands comfortably and relaxing your shoulders and arms, and gently close your eyes.”
How to do Box Breathing:
Step 1: Breathe in, counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.
If you’re having trouble focusing on your breathing, try placing one hand on your chest and another on your stomach. For some people, this can help direct the attention to where the air is entering and exiting. Do your best to relax the abdominal and allow the air to naturally fill and empty your stomach and lungs.