Breathwork is a powerful practice that will benefit your mind, body, and soul. Here are the top ten ways that breathwork can change your life!
Scott and I are both certified pranayama breathwork guides, and we have personally used breathwork to get clarity on questions and situations, create space for emotional and physical healing, heal physical wounds faster, and relieve stress and anxiety.
While there are many different breathwork modalities, we primarily practice pranayama breathwork as it’s an active meditation and conscious control of the breath. In practicing this, the focus is on freeing stuck energies in our bodies so healing can occur. (You can find out more or book a remote session here.)
That said, the only way of knowing which type of breathwork is for you is by trying them! Some of the other common ones are soma, holotropic, and vivation, and rebirthing. I’m certain that no matter which one you choose, you’ll find it enlightening, uplifting, and healing.
10 Ways Breathwork Can Change Your Life
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Like meditation, breathwork is often used as a way to combat stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed, your body experiences a fight or flight response during which your breathing becomes shallow and fast and you don’t use your full lung capacity.
By engaging in a breathwork technique, you’ll exercise your respiratory muscles, resulting in greater oxygen flow to all areas of your body. Additionally, because controlled breathing is an instant relaxer, the increased flow of oxygen will physically reverse signs of stress in the body, such as associated hormones and tension.
Breathwork is one of my favorite tools for shifting my mental and emotional state!
Heightens Mental Clarity
If you’re feeling at all sluggish or cloudy-minded, then including breathwork as a regular part of your weekly routine is a great exercise. Not only will breathwork help you shrug off any mental fog you may be experiencing, but it will also help you work through any questions or problems you seek guidance on.
For me, I work through questions and problems both through visualizations and by acknowledging, accepting, and releasing emotions that come through when focusing on my intention.
One of the main tenets of breathwork is that it will help you tap into the essence of YOU more deeply. This means that you’ll instinctively begin to learn more about yourself and, as a result, learn to trust your gut feelings and intuition.
I find that breathwork helps people trust their intuition in two ways. The first way is by giving yourself the opportunity to slow down, relax, and listen to what your subconscious has to say. It’s sometimes hard to hear or pay attention to what your subconscious is telling you when going through the motions of daily life, but breathwork is a great opportunity to press pause and listen.
In this way, breathwork is much like traditional meditation.
The second way breathwork will help you trust your intuition is by opening you up to the intense range of emotions that will inevitably come through. Unlike traditional meditation, I find that the physical aspect of breathwork makes for a very sensational experience, and these sensations only amplify the experience of self-exploration.
I have put together a virtual retreat for those of you who want to dip your toes into guided meditation and breathwork — and a whole lot of other goodies to help you relieve stress and change your mindset. This virtual retreat focuses heavily on connecting to your own inner guidance (your intuition) to help shift all areas of your life and release what’s been holding you back from finding true freedom.
You can find out more at The Unfolding Retreat.
Breathwork has been used for centuries as a way of relieving pain. Think about it — when a woman is in labor during childbirth, what do the nurses encourage her to do? Breathe. To help quell the pain and calm themselves down, mothers-to-be are encouraged to breathe slowly, deeply, and with intention.
The lessening of pain from breathwork happens because certain breathing techniques can physically influence the parasympathetic nervous system (the network that sends the signal of pain).
Branching from that idea, breathwork is an excellent tool in learning to gain control over your body, whether you experience temporary or chronic pain.
Strengthens the Body-Mind Connection
When it comes to our bodies, so much of our day seems to be on autopilot; we move through the world not really tuning in or focusing on how our body is feeling. We don’t think about what we could learn by checking in to our bodies or, unless we get the pain signal, what exactly we could do to feel better.
However, breathwork will have you deeply focusing on what your body is doing, and how it’s feeling, from start to finish.
I find that practicing breathwork has been an excellent first step in having a better relationship with my body.
Heals Past Trauma
In many cases, breathwork can be an enlightening tool in clearing and healing past trauma. Physically, this is because trauma is cellular, and increased blood and oxygen flow boosts the body’s natural process for healing.
However, when used in conjunction with an intention, breathwork will help you dive deep into your past experiences and energies, and help you work through any traumas and blockages you may be experiencing.
For this reason, breathwork can be a highly emotional experience. To have the necessary support and fully process what you’re experiencing, it’s best to work with a qualified breathwork guide.
As mentioned above, breathwork is a great tool for heightening body, mind, and spiritual awareness. In doing this, breathwork will help you stop acting out of ego and forge a deeper connection to both your true self and those around you.
Many people who regularly practice breathwork experience deep spiritual awakenings.
Releases Limiting Beliefs
To release limiting beliefs during a breathwork session, first set an intention. Think about a belief that you identify as limiting, and acknowledge what feelings this belief brings forward. Then, use these feelings and ideas as an anchor for your session.
Doing this will be especially great for finding out where the limiting belief originated so you can work on clearing it.
That said, it’s also true that breathwork can help you identify limiting beliefs. To find out what limiting beliefs you hold, use the concept of self-actualization as the intention for your practice. Allow whatever feelings or visions that come through in your session to flow freely, and then write down what you’ve experienced when the session is over.
One of my favorite things about regularly practicing breathwork is the incredible creative spells it brings out in me. Because breathwork helps you get in touch with your authentic self, it also sets the stage for a deeper understanding of your creative path.
To get the full benefits of using breathwork for creativity, plan to be creative right after your session, whether that’s by painting, writing, or whatever medium you prefer.
Studies have shown that controlled breathing is an effective way to boost your body’s immunity. According to scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina, test subjects that were instructed to do 20 minutes of controlled breathing exercises had lower levels of inflammation proteins in their saliva than subjects who simply read during that time.
This suggests that with regular breathwork, you too can experience less inflammation and higher immunity.
How to Practice Breathwork While Traveling
Set Aside Time
Whether you make time by setting a reminder on your phone, or whether it’s by practicing as soon as you wake up in the morning, be sure to create a specified time to do breathwork while you travel.
Of course, the very nature of travel is unpredictable, and therefore it can be difficult to stick to a daily regimen. For this reason, promise yourself to either wake up early, go to a breathwork class, or visit a park in the middle of the day to be sure you get your time in.
Create Space in Your Accommodations
One of the simplest things I do to find breathwork motivation while traveling is to create a designated spot in my accommodations.
To create this space, set up a few grounding stones or crystals on the floor, lay out a blanket or a travel yoga mat, and clear the energy of the room with sage.
Eat Well and Stay Hydrated
In order to have a clear mind, a well-fuelled body, and motivation to continue with your practice on the road, it’s important to eat healthy foods and drink a lot of water.
Remember the Benefits
If you do all of these tips and still struggle with motivating yourself to practice breathwork, then pull up this article and remember all the benefits. I find that when I’m mentally struggling with a task I know will be good for me, simply remembering all the reasons why it works usually does the trick!
For more information on Pranayama Breathwork, and to learn more about our healing services, visit our Breathwork website.