What is Breathwork and What Are The Benefits?

The term "breathwork" refers to any type of breathing exercise or technique. They are often performed to improve mental, physical, and spiritual health. You intentionally change your breathing pattern during breathwork. Many forms of breathwork therapy involve conscious and systematic breathing. Breathing exercises promote deep relaxation or leave people feeling energized. 

Benefits of breathwork include improved awareness, relaxation and more...

Breathwork is practiced for a variety of reasons. According to research, it improves emotional state and reduces stress levels in otherwise healthy individuals. 

Breathwork has been used by people to:

  • Enhance immunity, promote positive self-development, process emotions and healing emotional trauma 
  • Enhance creativity, boost self-awareness, build life skills and strengthen personal and professional relationships 
  • Boost self-esteem, confidence and self-image 
  • Boost happiness and joy 
  • Conquering addictions 
  • Lower levels of anxiety and stress 
  • Getting rid of bad thoughts

Breathwork is used to aid with a variety of ailments, such as:

  • Anger problems 
  • Sadness
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety 
  • Emotional side effects of an illness
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) 

 

 

"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure." – Oprah Winfrey

What happens to my body during a session? 

You start to increase the amount of oxygen in your body as soon as you begin the active breathing. Blood is being oxygenated, the hypothalamus is being stimulated, and endorphins are being released. Although it will attempt to fight it for the first few minutes, as the endorphins start to work, the brain has less and less control. Your body may start to feel as though it is bursting with electric energy. This could be widespread or localized to one place. When the body starts to open up, energy and emotions—even those that have been locked for a lifetime—can move through it freely.

By choosing to do so, you are elevating your consciousness and boosting your involuntary nervous system. Clients experience their nervous system calming down and a real sense of dropping into their bodies throughout sessions (often in the first few moments). 

Types of breath work practices:

There are various breathwork techniques. You might want to experiment with a few various approaches over time to determine which kind speaks to you the most and yields the best outcomes.

Breathwork techniques include:

  • Shamanic breathwork 
  • Vivation 
  • Transformational breath
  • Holotropic breathing
  • Clarity breathwork
  • Rebirthing

There are instructions for focused breathwork in several mindfulness apps. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers some free guided practice recordings. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to roughly 15 minutes. You can also attend classes with other people where you will be guided by a professional. 

What is the difference between breathwork and meditation? 

Even though it is a type of meditation, breathwork is used for healing and change. Meditation has its roots in relaxation and mental clarity and focuses more on bringing you into the present moment. Breathwork is the most effective technique I have found to help you push through emotional and energetic blocks, open your heart to insight, and heal from previous traumas. Daily meditation can also be transforming.

A few breathwork exercises as examples: 

Here are a few different kinds of breathing techniques that are applied in different practices: 

  • Box breathing
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Pursed lip breathing
  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Alternate nostril breaths

Breathwork defined: 
Keep in mind that the phrase "breathwork" refers to a variety of breathing exercises, programs, and approaches. These exercises are all designed to help you become more attentive of your breaths, both in and out. These exercises involve a set period of time spent breathing deeply and intently.

The risks and recommendations... 

Although breathwork therapy has numerous advantages, you should be aware that it also carries some hazards. Before commencing any breathwork therapy, always see your physician, especially if you have a medical condition or take drugs that might be impacted by the technique. This includes if you are expecting or nursing a baby.

It is advised that you avoid using breathwork if you experience any of the following:

  • Breathing problems 
  • Cardiovascular conditions 
  • History of aneurysms
  • High blood pressure 
  • Recent physical injuries
  • Surgeries for osteoporosis 
  • Severe mental health symptoms 
  • Eyesight problems

The potential for hyperventilation when practicing breathwork is a concern. This may result in:

  • Unclear vision 
  • Alterations in cognition 
  • Dizziness because of reduced blood flow to the brain 
  • Heart flutters 
  • Muscles cramping 
  • Twitching
  • Ringing in the ears
You can pace yourself and get the most out of your breathwork by practicing with the aid of a guided recording, program or a professional. 

 

The takeaway...

Advice and methods: 

You will have a singular breathwork method and experience. Prior to engaging in any breathwork therapies it's always best to consult a healthcare professional. If you take medicine or have any medical conditions, this is crucial information and needs to be checked by your GP or breathwork professional before doing a session.

Find a practitioner with whom you can schedule one or more sessions after choosing the form of breathwork you want to attempt. You can look for a practitioner online or get a personal recommendation from a reliable source.

Keep careful track of how you respond to any breathwork techniques, and stop using them if you notice any negative side effects. 

Breathwork is amazing to regulate your breathing, staying calm and it's a brilliant skill to attain. 

 

References:
https://www.healthline.com/health/breathwork
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https://chopra.com/articles/the-importance-of-a-morning-breathing-practice
https://www.soulbody.co/blog/breathwork-101

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