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Square breathing

Square breathing brings attention to the body and is a great way to find concentration and focus. As the inhalations and exhalations are the same length, this breathing technique can be used as well for calming as energizing.

In square breathing we are keeping all the four parts of the breath equal: inhalation, internal retention, exhalation and external retention.


Start with a comfortable seated position. Lengthen your spine from the crown of the head, and let your shoulders relax down.

1. Inhale while counting slowly to four.

2. Hold your breath while counting slowly to four.

3. Exhale while counting slowly to four.

4.Hold your breath while counting slowly to four.

Repeat this 4-part cycle at least 4 times, then come back to natural breathing. You can also slowly make the length of each part longer, and after few rounds of counting four, change it to counting six instead.

Caution! Square breathing (or any breathing technique with breath retention) is not recommended during pregnancy. Try simple breathing in and counting 4, breathing out and counting 4 instead (just skipping the holding the breath). Same goes for anyone who at the moment feels too anxious for holding the breath.

Are you interested of learning more about how to work with your nervous system through breath? Sign up for Somatic Essentials online course!


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