Intro to Breathwork
Oh my, you gorgeous souls, I’m so beyond excited to dive into breathwork with y’all that I’m breathless…JK, but c’mon admit I got a lil’ chuckle.
For those who aren’t regulars around these virtual parts, I’m Jen, a certified breathwork facilitator, and lover of holistic healing!
I’ve been practicing breathwork in yoga, meditation, and singing for 20+ years, but when I was finally introduced to the benefits that breathwork could have on my mindset I decided to get certified and share this freeing practice with the world.
It’s helped me learn to work with my anxiety, increase my sense of well-being, hone my focus, and even improve my fitness levels!
Yes, learning to control my breathing did all that.
Your breath is one of the quickest and most powerful ways you can improve your mindset.
Most people aren’t familiar with breathwork or, if they’ve heard of it before, they aren’t quite sure what it consists of. If that’s you then subscribe to the newsletter to be notified when new posts go up because we’re going to be doing an intro to breathwork series here on BuddhaBelly!
BONUS! You’ll get a copy of my editable Breathwork Breakthrough Reflection Journal so you can track your progress!
I’ll be breaking breathwork down for you and by the end of the series you’ll learn:
- exactly what breathwork is
- why breathwork is beneficial
- the different practices available to you
- how exactly it works
- and finally, how to start implementing breathwork into your everyday life!
If you want to learn to tap into your inner self, shut down that criticizing voice of self-doubt, calm your anxiety, or increase your physical fitness breathwork might be your cup of ginger tea!
I’d consider myself a spiritual person, but I like my woo-woo with a side of supporting research. So you can bet I’ll be including the different research studies that have been done showing how effective breathwork can be!
*This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.*
What is breathwork?
To put it simply, breathwork is the practice of controlled breathing.
There’s a myriad of different types of breathwork, but all of them include a group of breathing exercises used to manipulate your breathing rate with a specific goal in mind.
There’s no specific time you have to practice your breathwork for, but I suggest starting out with 5-10 minutes because some people who don’t have experience with breathwork can feel dizzy at first.
Does breathwork need to be spiritual?
That’s a big ol’ nope!
I’ll get more in-depth on this in the FAQ section I’ll be putting up, but here are the basics.
We all breathe and can benefit from breathwork. You don’t need to be spiritual to make a breathwork practice part of your regular routine.
Divers practice breathwork to help them lengthen the time they can be underwater without the need to breathe.
Marines practice breathwork to help them steady their hands and minds to be able to shoot more accurately.
Weightlifters learn to use their breath to properly brace their cores during lifts to provide a more secure base. That way they can lift heavier and more safely.
You can use breathwork as a wonderful healing tool to help you get in touch with your inner healer and your spirituality, but…
breathwork only needs to be as spiritual as you want it to be.
Who should practice breathwork?
Everyone can benefit from a breathwork practice, but there are specific practices that shouldn’t be practiced by those who:
- have recently had surgery or an injury
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have high blood pressure
- have a history of hypertension, heart attacks, epilepsy, seizures, stroke, cardiovascular disease, severe mental illness or aneurysms
Later in the series, when we discuss the various breathwork practices out there, I’ll note whether or not you should take a pass on it if you have any of the above.
It’s advisable to meet with your doctor before beginning any new health program.
What are the benefits of breathwork?
Most of us start out as perfect little buddha belly breathing babies. We let our abdominals relax without a second thought to how it might look.
Then suddenly society makes us feel self-conscious of our cute little bellies and we start holding our abdominals in and not fully expanding our diaphragm.
We start breathing more into our chests to compensate for not fully breathing and expanding into our diaphragms.
By re-learning how to breathe correctly you are making new neural connections in your brain to help make the process more automatic and the more you do it the easier it will be.
Some benefits of breathwork can be:
- Lowering heart rate
- Lowering blood pressure
- Increasing relaxation. Breathwork helps you drop into a parasympathetic state (rest and digest mode).
- Helping to cope with PTSD symptoms
- Improving your core stability
- Lowering your chance of injury
- Reducing stress
- Reducing anxiety
- Developing self-awareness
- Tapping into your intuition
- Releasing negative thoughts
- Increasing creativity
- Boosting immunity
If any of the above sounds like a good time to you then definitely give breathwork a try.
Chest breathing is only one of the many ways that you can adopt disordered breathing patterns.
Some other ways?
What can lead to dysfunctional breathing or Breathing Pattern Disorders (BPD)?
- Abdominal or pelvic floor tension
- Vocal Cord Dysfunction
- Nasal issues
- Chronic pain
Examples of breathwork exercises
Here are a few of the various types of breathwork exercises that you might run across.
- Box Breathing– Exhale to a count of four, holding after you exhale for a count of four, inhaling for a count of four, and then holding at the top for another count of four.
You can increase the amount of time, but if you increase one “side of the square” all the other sides must increase as well.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing– You want to be sitting up for this one!
Lift your right hand towards your nose and use your thumb to close your right nostril.
Inhale through your left nostril and then close it with your fingers.
Remove your thumb for your right nostril and exhale from there.
Then inhale through your right nostril, close it with your thumb, remove your finger from your left nostril and exhale from there.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing– You can sit or lie flat on the floor. Put on hand on your stomach and one on your heart center or chest.
Breathe in through your nose moving the air into your abdomen. You should be trying to push your lower hand out while moving your chest as little as possible.
Then exhale slowly through pursed lips.
Try and hear your breath as you inhale and exhale.
- 1:2 Breathing– I prefer to do this one laying down and typically do it to help myself wind down as I fall asleep but do whatever is most comfortable for you.
For this breath, you are exhaling twice as long as you are inhaling. I recommend starting at an inhale of 4 counts and increasing from there while staying within your comfort zone.
Your Soul Work for this week is to pick one of the above breathing practices and try it out for 5-to-10 minutes. Reflect on your practice with this gorgeous bonus and editable Breathwork Breakthrough Reflection Journal. It’s more popular than T Swift!
Ooookay, not quite, but you will get a beautiful journal to help you reflect on your breathwork practice, which is something I recommend doing! I’ve had a blast going back and looking at entries from when I first started.
—->DOWNLOAD YOUR BREATHWORK BREAKTHROUGH REFLECTION JOURNAL<—-
Put on some meditation music, light a candle, dim the lights, and just listen to the rhythm of your breath moving in and out.
I know you’re waiting with bated breath (pun fully intended) until the next post in the series and your wish is my command! When you’re ready go check out my next post in the breathwork series, The Benefits of Breathwork.
Don’t miss out on live community breathwork sessions! Come join the fam in the BuddhaBelly Breathwork FB group.
See you there!
Breathwork is an amazing practice that can give you greater control over your mindset, improve your fitness, and just help you increase your overall sense of well-being.
Over the next few weeks, I will take you from feeling like a tiny puff of air in your life to a full-on tornado!
Breathwork doesn’t improve you. It just lets you hear your inner voice again and tap into your ability to help heal yourself.
Want to keep upleveling your life? Check out these posts!
- How to Create a Personal Development Plan: The Ultimate Guide
- 9 Little Ways You Can Raise Your Vibe Right Now!
- How to Stop Self-doubt Now!