By now you have heard from me and others on the internet about many different versions of breath timing and cadences. But with all these variations how do you know which one to use when? That decision depends primarily on your goals, but a great place to start is by understanding the difficulty level of each version and how they compare. Below are 5 variations I often use with clients ranked from easiest to hardest. If you have more questions about any of these methods feel free to reach out!
Beginning with inhales and exhales of the same length is a great place to start when doing timed breathing. Try out 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out at first.
𝗧𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝗼𝗽
Holding your breath at the top of an inhale is much easier than pausing after an exhale. So next, begin adding in a breath hold after your inhale. Keep the inhale, hold, and exhale all the same length. Begin with 3 or 4 seconds each.
Keeping the breath hold after the inhale, begin adding a pause after the exhale as well. This is slightly more difficult and makes each breath much longer. Try starting with 4 seconds per “side” of the breath.
𝗧𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗺
This is my personal favorite. It can be very relaxing or challenging depending on the length. This cadence removes the breath hold after the inhale but keeps the pause after the exhale. Again all the sides are the same length. Go back down in total breath time from box breathing and begin with 4 seconds.
This final cadence, I would argue, is the most difficult simply because it requires more physical control of your breathing than the other cadences. Here you will breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in. The total breath time may equate to other cadences we covered. However, instead of being able to simply pause your breathing, you must control the airflow throughout the practice.
Email me to let me know which is your favorite and what was the most difficult!