However, simply breathing to stay alive is much different from controlling your breathing to facilitate growth, healing, and transformation. Learning how to focus on your breath is an underestimated wellness practice. In this guide, we’re covering the basics of breathwork and how it can positively impact your body and mind.
Breathwork is an exercise that involves breathing to bring about healing and transformation to the mind and body. By learning to control your breathing and breathing correctly, you can significantly improve your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Essentially, when you practice breathwork, you are changing or manipulating your breathing pattern to bring about relaxation for both the body and the mind, making it a great practice to incorporate into self-care and wellness routines for men and women alike.
There is much to be gained from adopting the practice of breathwork into your morning routine, whether you do it in the morning, during stressful moments throughout your day, or during your nighttime routine. It may even be helpful to use breathwork as you set your daily goals to keep from becoming overwhelmed with your to-do list.
It is a generally known fact that breathing deep reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. Breathwork is no different, also capable of decreasing stress levels by sending relaxation signals to the brain.
Practicing breathing slowly and rhythmically can help the brain calm down, especially when faced with racing or intrusive thoughts. Stress levels can significantly increase when adapting to a new work environment, so anyone learning to cope with a remote work experience may find breathwork to be a helpful tool for relaxation.
Similar to the reduction of stress and anxiety levels, breathwork can also help lower blood pressure. When you breathe slowly and deeply, similar to how you would when you are experiencing and trying to reduce anxiety or high amounts of stress, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, resulting in a lower heart rate and an increased dilation of veins and arteries.
Some breathwork techniques can be employed by those struggling with addiction and may help to soothe some of the stress of detox and recovery. There can be moments where you may start to feel like you don’t have control throughout the recovery process. Accordingly, it may be helpful to take control of your breathing and slow it down enough to help you reach a more grounded state in those moments.
Breathwork also has the potential to improve overall mental health. Along with providing moments for deep introspection, meditation, and self-reflection, breathwork techniques may also reduce the emotional effects of illness, grief, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Breathwork can improve mental health, ultimately increasing levels of energy and the chance to beat the afternoon slump.
There are at least six different types of breathwork commonly used for healing and grounding work. Each used for a unique purpose, we recommend looking more deeply into the techniques that intrigue you most.
One of the foundational methods of practicing breathwork is one called belly breathing. Belly breathing, scientifically known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a deep breathing technique that helps individuals living with asthma or COPD experience shortness of breath.
The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle at the base of the lungs, plays an essential role in breathing. When inhaling, your diaphragm contracts (or tightens) and moves downward, filling your lungs with air. However, when you exhale, your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward in the chest cavity.
Shamanic Breathwork is designed to help participants reach a place of deep inner understanding and enlightenment. It is a yoga practice that draws from ancient shamanic lineages to study the empowerment of the mind and the reduction of negative energy through controlled breathing.
The purpose of vivation is to reduce suppressed negative emotions through the use of breathwork and meditation techniques. This practice aims to eliminate current stressors and past grief or trauma that may be pent up inside.
Transformational Breath aims to bring together the mind, body, and spirit via the power of controlled breathing and meditation techniques. Bodily, this type of breathwork balances energy flow, reduces stress levels, and stimulates circulation.
Spiritually, it deepens the meditative experience and allows one to express love and affection more readily. In terms of the mind, it improves self-esteem and eliminates past trauma.
Holotropic Breathwork involves practicing accelerated breathing while lying on a mat and listening to evocative music. This environment is designed to bring about a state of inner healing for your psyche by allowing the participant to witness and better understand their own internal experiences.
Clarity Breathwork intends to bring about healing and transformation by releasing negative energy and influences from the body, whether stress, grief, past trauma, or simply old conditioning. After unlocking the potential to breathe fully and consciously instead of merely partially, you will be able to expand your consciousness to be more forgiving and increase your self-love.
Rebirthing breathwork entails a relaxed, intuitive rhythm of breathing that combines the inhale with the exhale and is designed to flood the body with divine energy. Rebirthing is meant to bring about healing by releasing past trauma and suppressed emotions while connecting you with the deepest parts of yourself and with the universe.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start your breathwork journey:
Breathwork is one of many health and wellness practices that can significantly improve your self-care routine both physically and mentally. Physically, you can reduce your stress levels and increase your heart health by lowering your blood pressure. Mentally, you can enjoy feeling more deeply connected to your inner self, intensely meditative moments, and a sense of grounding in the present moment.
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