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Square Breathing. Kind Karma® Kids Breathing Technique for Coping with Stress.

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

This Kind Karma® Worldwide Initiative is called "Kids R Key" because we believe, "kids are the 'key' to creating the world's future." Children are our sustained breath, and future heart-light of compassion, peace and kindness.​ Kind Karma Kids R' Key Initiative accentuates holistic therapies, such as breathing exercises, to cope with stress and to deal with turbulent emotions and anxious thoughts.

"Empowering our youth for a positive, high vibration future." - Kind Karma® Worldwide

"Square Breathing"

What is Square Breathing?
  • Square Breathing (or, Box Breathing) is a powerful, yet simple, breath-focused meditation technique that aims to clear, calm and refocus the mind and relax and-de-stress the body. It's very easy to do, quick to learn, and can be a highly effective technique for people in stressful or anxious situations.

  • The practice is simply: inhaling for a count of 4, holding or pausing the breath for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 4 and holding the breath after the exhale for a count of 4.

  • While breathing and counting, imagine a square. If you’re using a visual aid, follow the four sides of a square. Each step is a corner of the square; as you count to four, move along one side of the square at a time.

Posture for Square Breathing
  1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. When sitting in a chair, be sure your feet are flat on the floor.

  2. Gently rock side to side, or forward and backward, until you feel calmer or a sense of quiet.

  3. Align your head, neck, and spine. Feel tall. Feel expanded. Feel the Light.

  4. As you lengthen your spine, soften your face and neck, and lower and relax your shoulders.

  5. Relax your arms as you rest your hands in your lap or lightly on the knees. You can also place your hands in your favorite hand gesture or mudra.

  6. Softy close your eyes.

  7. Take in some deep belly breaths. Awaken with Meditation Tip: Breathe in through your nose and let your belly fill with air. Breathe out through your nose. Now, place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly move inward, towards the spine. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest. Take three more full, deep breaths.


Figure 1: Basic Square Breathing Sequence. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.

Preparation: Exhale and Release your Breath with Intention
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth, getting all the oxygen or stagnant energy, out of your lungs.

  • Awaken with Meditation Tip: Focus on this intention and be mindful of what you’re doing.

Step #1: Slowly Inhale

  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. In this step, count to four very slowly in your head.

  • Feel the air fill your lungs, until your lungs are full and the air moves into your belly.

  • Awaken with Meditation Tip: Concentrate on your belly and notice how it also moves when you inhale deeply.

Step #2: Softly Hold or Pause your Breath

  • Softly hold your breath for another slow count of four.

  • Awaken with Meditation Tip: Do not force your breath.

Step #3: Exhale Slowly

  • Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and belly.

  • Awaken with Meditation Tip: Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.

Step #4: Softly Hold or Pause your Breath

  • After the exhalation, softly hold your breath for another slow count of four.

  • Awaken with Meditation Tip: Do not force your breath.

Step #5: Repeat Steps #1-4

  • Ideally, breathe in and out through the nose - nasal breathing.

  • Repeat for four to six square breath cycles (one square = one breath cycle) or 3-5 minutes.

  • When you become familiar and comfortable with this breathing technique, repeat as long as you feel you need to do so.

  • At first try nasal breathing, however, if it better serves you to breath in through your nose and then out your mouth, that's fine.

Figure 2: Breath Count for 4 Square. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.

Additional Tips

  • If you’re new to Square Breathing it may be difficult to get the hang of it. You may get dizzy or feel slightly anxious after a few rounds. This is normal. With regular practice, you’ll be able to go longer without the dizziness or discomfort. If you do get dizzy, remain sitting for a minute or so, resuming normal breathing.

  • If needed, practice Square Breathing several times a day to calm your nerves and relieve stress.

Benefits of Square Breathing

  • Calms and clear the mind, relaxes body and relieves stress.

  • Help the mind to refocus.

  • Restores balance to your moods and control your emotions.

  • A first aid breath when you feel stressed, anxiousness or nervous.

  • Helpful for conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.

  • Helps to lower blood pressure.

  • Is useful for pain control or management.

  • Helps with insomnia.

  • Increasing brain fitness and elasticity through enhanced blood flow and reduced mental stimulation.

  • Slowing down the breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood, which stimulates the response of the vagus nerve to produce feelings of calmness throughout the body.

  • Awaken Qigong: We practice Square Breathing to increase energy - chi - awareness.

  • Ayurveda Holistic Health & Healing (AHHH!): We practice Square Breathing for all body and mind types, particularly Vata Mind Types.

  • Kind Karma® Yoga: Used at various times during our yoga classes, depending on sequencing. We also practice Square Breathing during meditation, savasana, seniors yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, therapeutic yoga and kid's yoga classes.


Square Breathing Variations
  • Variation #1: COLOR. Instead of counting to four, another variation is to visualize four sides of a box changing to a new color, one after the other, or in a line as though the box is being traced by a colored pen you hold with your mind, making this into a visualization exercise. Tip: Visualize healing colors or colors that you find peaceful and soothing.

Figure 3: Colored Square Meditation. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.


  • Instead of a counting to four, recite - mentally or aloud - four sounds, such as: "Sa Ta Na Ma" or "Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung."

Figure 4: Sa Ta Na Ma Square. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.

Figure 5: Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Sa So Hung Square. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.


  • Such as, "AH, Two, Three, Four" or "OM, Two, Three, Four".

Figure 6: AH, Two, Three, Four Square. Illustration All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.


  • Substitute fours words instead of counting. Some examples we use are: "Peace begins with me", "Kindness begins with me", "Compassion begins with me" or "Happiness begins with me."


  • Such as, "BEAUTIFUL, Two, Three, Four" or "EMPOWERED, Two, Three, Four.

"Kind Karma® Kids R Key breathing exercises use visualization and imagination as gateways to harmonize the body, mind and emotions." Dr. Dean Telano, Founder of Kind Karma® Worldwide

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for conventional medical diagnosis or treatment for any medical or psychological condition. It is not intended as a replacement or substitute for medical treatment from a health care provider for any medical or psychological condition, nor should it be used as such. For such issues, you should seek the proper treatment from a licensed physician or healthcare professional. Be sure to consult your physician before starting this or any other exercise program.

© 2021. All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano


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