BREATHE, BREATHE IN THE AIR: The Importance of the Box Breath


Stress makes us a mess—there are no ifs, ands or buts about it! Stress depletes our life-force (Qi) as quickly as a leech sucks out blood. We’re all sloppy when we’re stressed; it’s a malicious quid pro quo: you’re stressed because things are sloppy in your life, and you act sloppily because you’re too stressed. When bombarded by stress, too many of us turn to that “quick fix” that we think will help us; we become slaves to booze, pills and/or chemicals to help us with the turmoil in our lives, not realizing that we’re simply supplying kindling for this nefarious fire.

Luckily there are many advantageous things out there that we can do to help us transform negative energy (stress) into positive energy (balance, proactivity, happiness). One of the main things that we need to do is stop seeing those quick Dopamine fixes. Instead of trying to mitigate our stress via binging Netflix, spending hours scrolling down into some social media rabbit-hole, or drinking a bottle of vodka—we can actually physiologically transmute our stress via exercise, getting sunlight, doing productive things, meditating and participating in calming breathing exercises.

Next time you feel a wave of stress coming to wipe you out—turn your phone off or put it on silent for five minutes, sit down on a comfortable chair, close your eyes and practice a relaxing breath-work exercise such as the Box Breath. Breath-work helps you more than you think! From digestion to cognition, breathing exercises provide you with a greater sense of mental clarity, as well as help you sleep better, digest food more efficiently, improve your body’s immune response, and reduce stress levels. And to think, it only takes a few minutes of practice a day to reap all of these benefits!

Another very positive benefit of regularly participating in breathing exercises, as stated in, ‘If practiced regularly, breathing exercises can help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe.’ It’s of utmost importance for us to have strong lungs, especially nowadays with all of these respiratory-affecting bugaboos floating about. Strong lungs = strong you; someone that can’t catch their breath (whether physically and/or metaphorically) will never be in a state of balance and happiness! Have you ever felt what it’s like to not be able to breathe–it’s the worst thing in the world! It is of paramount importance to keep the respiratory system as clean and strong as possible…

There are many different kinds of breathing exercises that one can partake in: from invigorating ones to relaxing ones to ones that help you focus and visualize your desires into fruition! Today I’ll be showing you how to do a rather basic but, extraordinarily relaxing breathing exercise colloquially referred to as the “Box Breath.”

If you’re one of those big bad gym bros out there who may think that practicing breathing exercises may diminish your machismo in any way, remember that breathing exercises, especially the box breath, is practiced by everyone from NFL players to MMA fighters to the Navy SEALS!

So, how do we Box Breathe? You will often hear me preach, “SIMPLICITY IS BLISS!” for a reason—simplicity truly is bliss, especially when it comes to high-reward/low-risk physical and mental practices! The Box Breath is essentially simple: Step 1: Breathe in through your nose for a mental count of 4; Step 2: Hold your breath for a count of 4; Step 3: Exhale for a count of 4; Step 4: Hold your breath for another count of 4; Step 5: repeat 3-5 times. How simple is that?

Why is something like the Box Breath so important? Because it doesn’t allow our inevitable day-to-day stress to snowball into a massive, crippling avalanche! Mastery is the ability to pattern the moments of our day-to-day life as we see fitting; ignorance is allowing our daily experiences to reap negative ramifications upon our lives.

You’ll usually hear me getting quite advanced with my breathing and/or meditation instructions; I go through all sorts of visualization drills, or even have my clients go through strenuous physical exercises while simultaneously working on their breath-work; this is not the case with the Box Breath—I believe that it should be practiced just as it is. Simplicity is bliss: inhale, hold, exhale, hold, repeat! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Next time that you feel the energies are turning on you and you’re in for a probable stress-out—breathe! Practice the Box Breath daily, especially between hectic scheduling and do not allow the waves of stress to grow into a tsunami. Learn the Box Breath to pattern your day away from stress and towards harmony. If interested in learning many other beneficial breathing exercises, meditations, and Martial Discipline techniques, please contact me for session info.


Andre Zemnovitsch

I have been a Certified Personal Trainer for almost 20 years. Training for some of the top boutique gyms in NYC and the Catskills, I have been honored to assist well over a thousand clients evolve not only their bodies but their minds to higher levels. I have dedicated my life to finding the most effective fitness techniques, herbs/plant medicines, exercise regimens, Martial Disciplines, scientific approaches and ancient wisdoms from the four corners of this wonderful World—to help myself and my fellow man live longer and better. I am the founder of High∞Chi Fitness—a soon-to-open revolutionary gym—where a medley of fitness Masters from around the globe will come together to work in harmony, collaboratively taking clients to their apex fitness levels. High∞Chi Fitness isn’t just a gym; it’s a way of life to assist the client to ride the trajectory of perpetual fitness evolution! Throughout my fitness journey: I have been blessed to learn from elite Martial Artists, esteemed Acupuncturists, Yoga Masters, Pilates pioneers, Zen Masters, and even real-deal Amazonian Shaman and Mystics. I have designed and instructed original and revolutionary fitness classes for some of the most illustrious centers and institutions on the East Coast—from the peaks of the Poconos to the Hamlets of the Hamptons. My successful classes place emphasis on Qigong breathing with Zen Visualization Exercises, alongside "Dynamic Meditations" juxtaposed with static techniques. I hybridize Ancient Eastern Techniques with the most up-to-date contemporary Westernized approaches: for total health and well-being and mind-body-connection. I have been fusing into my training regiments: the latest scientifically-backed advancements in fitness with a thousand years' worth of Martial Disciplines. I believe in a "best-of-all-worlds" approach to health and exercise, a best of East-meets-West, if you will. Via my training: I incorporate dexterity (hand-eye-coordination) alongside footwork, strength and conditioning, postural alignment strategies and physical therapy, breath∞work, mind-calming/elucidation strategies, visualization-manifestation methods, a variety of Martial Arts techniques, and a cornucopia of other important facets of mind-body enhancement. With all the aforementioned, I have found that this is the preferred way to follow THE WAY to optimized health and clarity of mind. My life is devoted to making your life better in every way! If you are interested in training, please send me a message via my email [email protected] or call me at 347.777.2584.

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