Square breathing (also known as box breathing) is a process for controlling your breathing that can help reduce the feeling of anxiety, panic, or that can help you move into a more relaxed state such as at the beginning of meditation.
The process is quite simple. The idea is that you breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4, and then hold again for the count of 4.
The four parts to that process are all of an equal length, hence the name square breathing (or box breathing) as you have figuratively drawn a square box and you are back to the beginning corner again.
It doesn’t matter how long in seconds each edge of that square is – that is entirely up to you; up to your normal breathing pattern/capability and how you are feeling at that given time.
The square breathing technique can be used if you suffer from panic attacks to help you to regain control over your mind and body and because the count of 4 is not measured in seconds, it works even if you start when you are breathing very fast and then you try to slow your breathing by slowing your count ever so slightly on each circuit.
The technique can also be really useful for beginning a meditation session as it helps you to focus on your breath and the control of your breath and it can help you to ignore the distractions around you.
Some people find that starting each day with a short session of square breathing or meditation as a way to check-in with yourself can help them focus on the present, and it helps them to start their day in a mindful frame of mind when they don’t perhaps have time for a yoga session or exercise.