Box Breathing and COVID-19 Long-Haulers

Those of us who’ve been introduced to box breathing via Suff may be interested in this article from The Atlantic. It turns out the technique is measurably helping a subset of COVID-19 long haulers.


@AlexEllermann Interesting - I use box breathing all of the time now.

I am just reading a book on yogi breathing. They do not use box breathing as such, but try to align breathing with HR, for example you inhale for 6 heart beats, hold for 3, exhale for 6 hold for 3 and repeat. The book explains that once this is mastered, then the inhales and holds can be extended.Working with body rhythm seems to make sense the way it is explained in the book


@alchurch Interesting - what is the name of the book? Do you use a heart rate monitor or just listen for your heart beats. I would think that is a difficult technique as sometimes your heartbeat changes as your breathing changes.

Sir J The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka. I do not think the exact numbers were as important as getting into rhythm with the body. There are a lot of different breathing techniques in the book . It says the general rule for rhythmic breathing is the inhale and exhale should be the same, while the retention between breaths should be half. “The main thing to be acquired is the mental idea of rhythm”. I brought this book in the 1960s and have just recently found it in the loft.


Thanks for posting the link!

My first post!

I guess you could call me a Long Hauler, as I struggled with Covid for around 80 days, and spent 4 days in the hospital around 40 days in. I still get a few weird symptoms, but they are rare at this point. Worse thing is/was my blood pressure, which thankfully is now under control, usually around 110/70, a far cry from the 224/114 that put me in the hospital.

Which is the reason I’m entering Sufferlandria. Have done about a week of workouts, trying to get my fitness/health back. I used to run - probably too much - until injuries kept happening. Have put a bunch of miles on Zwift/Rouvy/RGT over the last few years but I get bored with them fast. Always heard of Sufferfest but never really checked it out until recently and it appears to be exactly what I’ve been looking for.


@Phil_Duncan Great to have you here at Sufferlandria. Regarding you injuries caused by too much running you might consider Danny Dryer’s concept of Chi Running.
Get strong again!

@Phil_Duncan Please keep a check on your BP. That level is a possible indicator of damage. But it’s good that you are back among the Suffering. One thing to do is three part breath to expand your lungs and improve capacity. Box Breathing is really hard for me due to lifelong lung damage. If I do something like three part breath and then box breathing this seems to work. I might have had COVID before the declared emergency. Longer story.

A warm welcome to the group Phil. 'We say that a true sufferlandrian likes to thrash him/herself to a pulp day after day. After what your body has gone through, recovery may be as important as suffering. You have not asked for an opinion so I should not give one, yet if asked I would urge slowly slowly not thrash thrash…Good luck

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Thanks for the replies.

I’m definitely taking things slow, if I’m not feeling right I just chill. After a busy weekend I still haven’t got back on the bike, just haven’t quite felt “right”. I check my BP twice daily, and my cardiologist seems to be pretty happy with everything, he’s just a little concerned about calcium buildup from endurance exercise.

I started the MTB off-season plan, but I’m not quite sure if that’s the plan that is best for me. MTB is my main passion at the moment, but it doesn’t appear to be overly challenging. I guess I should give it another week or two.


@Phil_Duncan Listen to your medical team. Ask if a stress test is necessary. If they don’t feel it is required, ride away. I’m dealing with a simular issue, but my team wants me to avoid HIIT efforts but they’ve cleared me for just about everything else. So no Violator, Shovel, and The Tool Shed are right out. I have to watch out to keep my heart rate below a certain level. If the team wants you to ‘take it easy’ ask what they mean.

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Just finished a fascinating book , Breath by James Nestor. defiantly worth reading for anyone who enjoys breathing :slight_smile:
he talks a lot about the issues mentioned here, basically, we should breathe through our nose only/mostly. hard to do when I’m in minute 40 into “Who Dares?” but its a good challenge


read it too, and enjoy breathing. Decided once to stop breathing, too much fuzz about, but after two minutes I changed my mind… :wink:
Thanks, great recommendation

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