Breathing is a remarkable phenomenon. Like our heartbeat and digestion, we breathe without effort or thought. Yet at any moment in time, we can make a conscious decision to take a sigh of relief, gasp, or hold our breath.
Anybody—regardless of age, ability, location, or goal—can utilize breathwork as an effective tool for accelerating results, getting clear, and navigating the ups and downs of everyday life.
Why practice breathwork?
Over 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders, asthma, chest tightness, and hyperventilation, with 9 out of 10 people not using the full capacity of their lungs. When we fail to expand and make space, it destabilizes the mind, muscles, mood and metabolism, creating hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, neck and body tension, and depression.
Faulty breathing patterns have been identified as the root cause for dozens of misdiagnosed medical conditions – from extreme physical pain and anxiety disorders, to autoimmune illness and psychotherapies. Since overbreathing can lead to panic attacks and perpetuate stressors on the body and mind, it’s no wonder so many people are stressed out, feeling reactive, and on the edge of burnout.
We live in a culture of chronic upper chest breathers!
“The rise of breathwork coincides with the recognition that people within urban communities are often living in a constant state of stress, with high levels of adrenaline and cortisol coursing through our bodies,” mental health specialist Dr Anna Haigh says. “Rebalancing our levels of dopamine and oxytocin provide lots of health benefits, including reduced blood pressure and better immune health.”
Breath awareness is key for making space, letting go, and pressing our internal ‘reset’ button. It’s energetic, intuitive, connected, and improves emotional and mental state management skills. It helps teams tap into a group flow state, boosts leadership, communication and productivity, and improves physical, mental, and spiritual health.
A key power habit and a master reprogramming tool, conscious breathing can shift our attention inward and help us see fresh perspectives in the world around us, letting go of control and surrendering to the present.
The health benefits of breathwork
Aside from being an enjoyable practice that you can do anytime, anywhere, and one of the FASTEST and most effective ways to combat stress and achieve an “all is well” state in everyday life – the benefits will blow your mind!
This work has the potential to affect every layer of your being:
- Emotionally it helps you feel happy and fulfilled, optimistic and level headed
- Cognitively it helps you to think clearly and improve focus + productivity
- Behaviorally, it helps you to be proactive rather than reactive, staying calm and intentional
- Physically, it boosts natural energy, relieves pain, and helps you sleep
- Psychologically, it positively affects your personality, relationships, self-confidence, patterns and habits
How to start a breathwork practice
“With just one simple breath, we can physiologically shift our state of being.” -Shane Saunders
Simple daily practices can create noticeable results, FAST! Whatever your motivation for practicing – whether you’re focusing on mindfulness, wanting to connect deeper to your intuition, increase vitality and performance, or find relief from anxiety – there are simple techniques that will help!
The how: just six minutes per day
To start off, we recommend committing to at least one week straight – bookending your day with 3-6 minutes of conscious breathing.
The style: dealer’s choice
There are literally dozens of techniques and styles that can most definitely serve as overwhelming to beginner breathwork enthusiasts – from Pranayama, Buteyko, Soma, Transformational, Holotropic, Rebirthing, Shamanic, Wim Hof – the list goes on and on! But what we’ve discovered through our work with Dr. Peter Litchfield and The Graduate School of Behavioral Health Sciences (see our latest breathing science course on OnlineBreathingAcademy.com), is that almost all of these techniques have the ability to help you shift energy when you need it, but the key is to sustain a practice of conscious breath awareness.
Let’s try out a simple resonant breathing pattern:
Sit comfortably, with space between your ribs and hips, find your center, and close your eyes.
INHALE: Fill up your lungs completely. Feel the energy coming into the body, expanding, massaging any tension that exists in the emotional or physical body.
EXHALE: Let it go. Feel the tension melting away in the physiology and in the psychology, relaxing reactivity, letting go, surrendering.
Repeat five or six times. In for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds. In for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds…
How do you feel?
This simple practice is known as resonant breathing or coherent breathing, a slow relaxed diaphragmatic technique that regulates the autonomic nervous system!
Access our free comprehensive breathwork playbook and additional guided breathwork journey recordings here!