The benefits of breathwork
Take a deep breath and discover more about the benefits of breathwork and the power of effective breathing. What benefits can mindful breathing bring? Check out this guide to discover more.
Breathwork is more than just deep breaths, it refers to any sort of breathing technique or breathing exercise. People tend to perform them for the purpose of improving their spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing. Throughout breathwork, your breathing pattern is intentionally changed. There are a lot of different types of breathwork therapy, which involve breathing in a systematic and conscious manner. A lot of people find that breathwork promotes deep relaxation and results in them feeling energized.
Breathing is something that we often take for granted. Many of us only pay attention to how we breathe when something is wrong with it, such as when we are trying to catch our breath after running up the stairs. Since breathing technique is essential for health and wellbeing it is quite unbelievable that proper breathing technique is not more mainstream in terms of awareness, it’s so easy for people to go their entire life without a second thought on their breathing technique because it just seems to work and come naturally to us. However, it is clear that the way we breathe has a major impact on us and we can develop improved awareness and control of our breath. Not only does breath control and conscious breathing open the doorway to reducing stress and anxiety, managing emotion and mood, but it also can have a profound impact on your overall health and longevity.
The benefits of breathwork
Breathwork and the application of breathing exercises are often used when focusing on meditation to help improve concentration, manage stress levels, reduce anxiety, achieve deep relaxation, open up the body’s vital centres for healing purposes, achieve higher states of consciousness, receive guidance from spirit guides etc… The benefits of breathwork are truly endless and can include:
– Improved blood circulation and oxygenation of the brain, lungs, heart
– Helps reduce stress and anxiety by slowing your breathing which in turn helps with emotional balance and emotional intelligence. It is a form of self-love and wellness.
– A tool for deep relaxation to overcome stress-related conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.
– Helps to relieve pain for those who suffer from migraines or lower back pain.
– Can be used as a tool to treat a variety of health problems such as asthma, lung disease, heart conditions and chronic fatigue syndrome.
– A mental ritual that you can use for meditation to help improve concentration, energy, achieve deep relaxation and in some cases even open the body’s vital centres in order to heal.
– A tool that can be used when in a state of panic or fear. It will help the person learn how to breathe through their stress or anxiety attack.
How to do it?
There are a few formal and informal breathing exercises, techniques and methods. They all work by manipulating the breath in different ways to create specific effects. Breathwork is often used during meditation (which you can read more about here). There are some simple steps that you can take to get started with using breathwork for self-healing. They are:
– Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Be comfortable but also try to be alert and present.
– Have your eyes either closed or lightly focused on the ground in front of you.
– Bring your focus onto your breath, whatever part of it that your attention is drawn to, whether it’s the inhale or exhale. Try not to breathe from the upper chest but instead apply diaphragmatic breathing also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing (but don’t tense your stomach muscles) to employ your diaphragm to induce deep breathing rather than shallow breaths. Breath focus comes from connecting with your body and feeling how diaphragmatic breathing feels and the relaxation techniques breath enables. When done correctly you will see your belly rise or push out as the diaphragm engages and lowers to expand the lungs and draw in a deep breath. Focus on even breath cycles and on how your body feels. Often using pursed lips helps with effective breath control. Experiment with breathing through your nose, through your mouth and with alternative nostril breathing it will help you to gain a connection with your breath and your body.
– After some time, if you wish to go deeper into your breathwork session try to slow your breathing by bringing it way down so that you are taking 5-6 breaths per minute. Wanting to have one long drawn out exhale will help with this process. If concentrating on your inhale you want it to be slow and controlled. After some time of doing this if you wish to bring your breathing back up, you can either do smaller breaths or faster breaths (for the most part I like to stay at around 6-7 breaths per minute).
– After trying out both methods of increasing and decreasing your breath rate, try extending your exhales even longer than your inhales for one whole breath cycle. It is important when doing this that you do not force the air out but instead breathe beyond what feels comfortable so that there is no strain.
Some benefits people report they experience after using breathwork include:
– More energy throughout the day
– Feeling more relaxed in their body which helps with better sleep.
– Lighter more positive feeling in their body.
These are only a few benefits you can experience by using breathwork. Again I suggest trying out different methods to see how it helps you personally, if at all. If you want to try this for yourself start today! You can do it when you are getting ready in the morning or before bedtime, whenever is best for your schedule and lifestyle.
With that being said, continue reading to discover more about the benefits of breathwork.
You can increase focus, relaxation, and awareness with mindful breathing
There are a number of different reasons why people practice their breathwork. Overall, it is believed to lower stress levels while bringing out improvements in a person’s emotional state. Here are some of the different reasons why people may practice breathwork:
– To release negative thoughts
– Reduce anxiety and stress levels
– Overcome addictions
– Increase happiness and joy
– Increase self-esteem, self-image, and confidence
– Improve professional and personal relationships
– Enrich creativity
– Increase or develop self-awareness
– Develop life skills
– Deal with trauma, heal emotional pain, and process emotions
– Boost immunity
– Aid positive self-development
You can use breathwork to help you deal with a wide range of issues that you may be experiencing, including trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), grief, emotional effects of illness, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and anger issues.
Exploring the benefits of breathwork
Let’s take a look at the benefits of breathwork in further detail to get a better understanding:
Reduce any pain you are experiencing
Those with chronic pain have often tried to distance themselves from their bodies in an attempt to ignore pain. If you distance yourself from your body, you distance yourself from your body’s innate ability to health itself. Breathwork will enable you to effortlessly reconnect with your body, which is beneficial in terms of jumpstarting the healing process. Furthermore, breathing in a deep manner results in your body releasing endorphins, which boosts pleasure and lowers your sensitivity to pain. This can help to enhance your feelings of well-being. It also helps lower pain because deep breathing alters your body’s acidity level, making it more alkaline. Breathwork also lowers cortisol, which reduces stress and your feelings of pain. Deep belly breathing has a very therapeutic impact on chronic pain because it causes muscles to relax, which would otherwise be very tense. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can prove to be extremely powerful in alleviating pain.
Release fear and trauma stuck in your body
Unprocessed trauma, fear, and negative emotions can get stored and trapped in your body, becoming energetic blocks that can have a physical impact on the body. Talking therapy can often help you in terms of determining what these traumas and fears are, but this is not always sufficient to dislodge them from the body. These blocks and traumas can stay in the body from being a child, and they can prevent us from truly being able to lead the life that we want to lead. The good news is that breathwork can be incredibly beneficial in terms of helping with unblocking, releasing, and unravelling negative emotions, limiting beliefs, traumas, and fear. Deep breathing techniques and breath focus can assist with stress relief and releasing negative emotions and stress management.
Get a better night of sleep
Between our social media and phone overuse, the anxiety and low-grade stress we experience every day, the sugar in our food, and the coffee we drink, there are a lot of different stimulating factors that have a negative impact on our sleep. Thankfully, the deep breathing that we carry out while we are breathing will help to calm the nervous system, which in turn, lowers the impact of stimulants and calms stress, giving you the chance to get a much more restful and rejuvenating night of rest. Furthermore, quieting the mind, which is something that breathwork does incredibly well, enables you to fall asleep more deeply and a lot quicker as well. As part of a daily routine to help you feel relaxed before bedtime breathing exercises can be an ideal way to wind down, connect with your breath, slow down your breathing and combine with other relaxation techniques to enable improved sleep.
Increase joy, happiness, presence, and self-awareness
During breathwork, you will breathe through your mouth, which creates an experience of deep self-awareness and presence, by giving yourself the space to go within, where there is almost no time. In this expanded state and space, our brainwaves get the opportunity to slow down, moving from the thinking to the doing state of Alpha and Beta to Theta, which is a more dreamlike state of being. While you are in this state of being, you are in the present moment, and you are no longer bound by the future or the past. As a consequence, a lot of people find feelings of joy and happiness wash over them.
Boost your immune system and increase your energy levels
Breathwork will enhance your oxygen capacity within the blood, which results in higher energy levels and improved stamina. The amount of oxygen that we inhale via our breathing has a direct influence on the quantity of energy we release into our cells. The body can utilise this added energy to boost your immune system or to provide you with the energy you require if you have had an anxiety-filled day or you did not get sufficient sleep. It also gives you the ability to push your physical workout to new heights because your body is going to be flooded with oxygen. By practising breathwork every day, you can start learning to consciously control your immune system and energy levels.
Tips to exploring breathing techniques
Breathing techniques vary massively in their complexity with the ability to increase the demand and skill required. A simple place to start is to sit comfortably, (best to try this while sitting – especially as you may feel lightheaded at first). You don’t have to complete a meditation to relax, a simple breathing pattern can be extremely effective in reducing stress, relaxing your mind and body and reduce symptoms of both physical and mental fatigue. Our bodies can be triggered into a stress response just by the general pace and busy nature of our daily lives, leaving us worn out, breathing through our moths and chest breathing. Simply sitting connecting with our breath, deep breathing whilst you exhale slowly, breathe deeply, then inhale slowly, whilst being aware of your inhale and exhale for a few minutes can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, clear our minds and relax our whole body into a more comfortable state. It can literally be amazing what a few deep breaths can do.
Final words on breathwork
As you can see, there are a number of benefits that are associated with breathwork. It can help you to enjoy deeper relaxation and leave you feeling energized. When you consider the daily workplace stresses and family strains that we all have to deal with today, it is not difficult to see why it is important to practice breathwork therapy. This can bring a whole host of benefits to your life, and it is incredibly simple and does not require extensive effort on your behalf. Something as simple as how we fill our lungs with air can such incredible impacts on our lives.