This breathing technique, known as the Box Breath due to the symmetry established in the inhale-hold-exhale-hold (like a box), can be helpful for brining peace and calm to the mind, body, and soul. The symmetry of the breath can help to establish harmony and regulate the nervous system. Though I have recorded this to the count of 4, you are welcome to shorten or extend the length of the counts in any way that suits you. I personally often start out with a count of 4, and will increase to a count of 6 or even 8 or 10 at times. I practice this breath for 5-10 minutes at a time, and find it can really ground me and soothe a worked up mind or nervous system.
It is important to note, that holding on the exhale can sometimes be difficult. You might notice that your mind becomes a bit agitated or frightened even with the absence of air. Be mindful of this and notice your edge. Sometimes this may be a reaction of your mind you can work through, and may notice that the mind calms as you do a couple of repetitions. If your mind or body start to become frantic though, you may want to shorten the length of your breath.
You may find that one day you can do this to the count of 6 and on another day you can only do to the count of 3. If this happens, do not take it as evidence for anything other than the fact that your are human and your energies change from day to day and moment to moment. Meet your mind and body where they are, rather than forcing them into a BOX! ? The “box” of this breath should be supportive to where you are at the given moment. Perhaps you push your edge a little, but do not do so in a way that increases tension or distress in an unmanageable way.
Remember, breath work is an ally to call upon to help soothe and regulate. If your breath work starts stirring things up into choppy and dangerous waters though, back off and slow it down. The goal is to feel better, not significantly worse.