We live in a world where time seems to rule our lives; many of us are continually rushing. Chaotic schedules, crowded cities, and poor air pollution give us plenty of fuel for chronic states of stress. This is a time when human breathing has been restricted. For some, breathing capacity is completely shut down. The majority of people on this Earth go on most of their lives not even thinking about their breath. Because of this, many don’t even realize they are naturally breathing improperly, when a small change (literally, even just 5 minutes twice a day) could make a huge impact on a person’s life.
This is where breathwork comes in.
What is Breathwork?
Breathwork is the intentional practice of consciously controlling the breath, to enhance and elevate physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and overall health. It is as simple as it sounds: working with the breath. You are teaching yourself how to breathe deeper and more mindfully, which is energy that bleeds into literally everything else you do. As you consistently practice, you will become more aware of yourself, internally and externally, as well as your surroundings.
As you cultivate awareness, you’ll find yourself waking up in moments when you’ve unconsciously gone on autopilot. You’ll find yourself becoming an observer of your incessant inner monologue rather than being completely immersed in it. The awakening of awareness inevitably gives you so much sovereignty over your thoughts that eventually you yield the ability to choose your mindset just like you would choose what to eat for breakfast. You’ll begin to notice you don’t emotionally react as much during stressful situations and that you’ll choose to breathe through the stress instead, staying calm, which in turn can help you make better decisions in the moment.
How does this work?
When we train our bodies to take deeper, fuller breaths, we are inviting more oxygen into the body and into our cells. Oxygen is the most essential natural resource required by our cells, as it is the one thing that truly keeps us alive. We can go days without food and water, but we can only go minutes without breathing.
Approximately 75% of our body’s blood circulation is located in the mid-and lower torso. When we breathe deeply into our diaphragms, we directly saturate these blood vessels with essential oxygen. When we breathe shallowly, we deprive the body of its most needed life-giving nutrient. In other words, Shallow breathing makes us less alive, which makes us less aware. Therefore, bringing more oxygen into the body through consistent breathwork practice boosts our oxygen levels, which also boosts our awareness and energy levels.
What else does breathwork do for us?
Breathing stimulates the electrochemical processes of every cell in our body: skin, organs, muscles, bones, blood, etc. The breath is their primary delivery system for food and electrical charge (energy).
Deep diaphragmatic breathing acts like an internal massage for the heart, liver, and all other internal organs and muscles including the brain, and reproductive organs. This helps everything inside of you stay relaxed and in good circulation.
Inhaling oxygen strengthens the immune system, while the exhale expels toxins. Shallow breathers literally poison themselves, because most toxins are released through the breath. When we don’t breathe sufficiently, toxins remain in the body, running through the entire elimination system again, and back into circulation.
Breathing also plays an important role in determining mental and emotional states which, if allowed to deteriorate, can contribute to psychological stress and disease. So being mindful of your breathing patterns can help you stay in control of your psychological well-being.
Mental acuity, the ability to learn and assimilate information, focus, concentrate, and remember, are all greatly affected by the quality of breathing, since the brain requires a great deal of oxygen to function. This is why practicing breathwork is especially supportive for people recovering from traumatic brain or nervous system injuries.
In short, consistent breathwork training is effective for:
Improving focus and concentration skills
Regulating emotional health and calming racy thoughts
Boosting metabolic function and how well the body digests food
Supporting sore muscle recovery more efficiently post-workout
Supporting better sleep if done before bed
Boosting immunity and preventing illness
Overcoming past traumas and negative memories
Rewiring the brain to lose bad habits
Improving athletic and coordination skills
Removing creative/writer’s blocks
Prepping the mind/body for a meditation
There are many ways to use breathwork to boost your life experiences. This means breath awareness is vital when it comes to applying it to your daily lifestyle. When it only takes a minimum of 10 minutes of conscious breathing each day, why wouldn’t you choose to do this? The breath is the foundation of life. The more conscious you are of your breath, the more conscious you’ll be of your life.
Interested in trying breathwork? Hop on a discovery call with me and try it yourself!