Being aware of how you breathe is one of the simplest ways to understand how you are feeling in the here and now. Conscious breathwork is the most effective way to release emotional baggage, manage mindset and physical wellbeing. Your breath is the most natural and sustainable healing tool you have. We often look to quick fixes to feel better – digital health trackers, step counters and activity rings, rather than looking inside to naturally boost our well-being to the how we can naturally self-regulate.
You have many of the solutions within you already – and one really formidable force to access this is your breath. You have this innate and completely free power inside you which can be called upon and utilised when needed.
If you’ve been led to believe you need to spend weeks meditating on a mountain to feel calmer, that is just not true. You don’t need to escape your everyday life to feel more balanced, you just need to turn your attention inwards and become the architect of your own breath.
From your earliest childhood memories, you probably recall being told to ‘take a breath’ when feeling upset, angry or anxious. Intuitively we all understand, even if we’ve never heard the science, that how we breathe and how we feel are intrinsically linked.
What is breathwork?
The practice of breathwork is, simply put, breathing exercises that allow you to change and manipulate the rhythm, depth and rate of your breath with intention and purpose to improve your physical, mental and emotional performance.
Optimum breathing plays a pivotal role in your overall mental and physical health, and in the proper functioning of your immune and nervous systems. By using your breath to its’ full potential it can expand your lung capacity and help strengthen your lung and pulmonary system whilst helping reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. By learning to breathe well you help to limit your risk of becoming ill or burning out, and naturally defend your immune system. In as little as one full minute of focussed breathing, it’s possible to completely clear the bloodstream of the stress hormone cortisol.
Constant tension in the body can lead to anxious thought patterns, bad digestion, a weaker immune system, and increased acidity and inflammation – it’s all connected. Science is now catching up with what the sages and yogis have been saying for thousands of years: our emotions, feelings and breathing are fundamentally linked.
Breathing well is proven to have lasting effects on both your physical and mental health, providing a method you can use every day to help navigate your way through life. The breath is a barometer to your inner state of being. It has been labelled by some as the ‘new yoga’, but it is not a replacement for anything! I have seen first-hand the power that better breathing can have to help us face – recover and heal from – trauma, pain and low self esteem and chronic anxiety.
Often, challenging situations or even mundane events such as being late for a train can make us revert into a stressed ‘flight or fight’ mode. Our bodies are designed to maintain balance however they have not adapted and evolved fast enough to cope with being triggered constantly by the demands of modern life.
Breathing is the only autonomic system in the body that you can learn to control to change your sense of well-being and anchor your mind. Most of us hold physical, mental and emotional tension in our bodies which can impact our health. Although we cannot change or control everything around us, we can control our response and how it affects our physiology. Breathwork helps release tension, unprocessed trauma, break unhealthy patterns and coping mechanisms and quieten the chatter in the mind. We can literally change how we react, act and feel by simply changing the rhythms of our breath.
One breath at a time, you can move towards reaching goals that may have felt before unattainable with a deeper understanding of your breath, bringing tangible results that do not require years of rigorous practice, – this is for everyone, right now.
Where do I start? How can I embrace the breath every day?
Every day you have a choice to take your breath for granted or to fully embrace and feel everything that life gives you. All thoughts, experiences and feelings directly stimulate your physiology and influence how you breathe. Breathwork can create a pause between stimulus and response.
The key is in creating space between stressful moments to recalibrate and reset rather than staying wired. Breathing is free, and not particularly hard, yet many of us hold or limit our breath subconsciously.
When you change the way you breathe, you change something fundamental in your whole physiology. You can change your state from feeling anxious to calm, scattered to focused, even from tired to more energised. In short, you can rewire your nervous system and supercharge your mind!
Breathwork provides you with a life-long set of tools to use every day to help navigate your way through life, and even transform it if you want to.
There are many different breathwork techniques. Simply, breathwork is when you consciously use your breathing with intention and purpose to change your physiology and the way you feel and think, transforming your state of being.