Curious About Breathwork?
The sun is finally shining in Oregon after a very long lull. Spring is nature’s time of growth and renewal, so I took the opportunity to reevaluate my priorities, let go of some commitments and double down on others.
In general, I’m so excited about the connection between breathwork and fitness I realized I need to start at the beginning. So I took the last 2 weeks to revisit the best way to share this work.
I thought about how much confusion there is about breathwork as a mystical or extreme practice. And how much hype there is around the vagus nerve as a quick fix to anxiety. Neither of these is particularly helpful to most people. So I thought I’d take a minute to clear up some of the confusion.
What is breathwork?
What’s the difference between the way you’re breathing right now and breathwork?
An easy definition is that breathwork is intentional breathing, where you focus on the rate, depth, and rhythm of your breath to have an immediate effect on how you feel.
In other words, you consciously begin to examine your default breathing patterns and how they relate to everything from mood to sleep. Once you learn how different breathing patterns influence your nervous system, which in turn regulates your automatic bodily functions, you can learn to change from the top down rather than being driven by the environmentally-vulnerable state of your nervous system.
This is breathing with a purpose, and it can become the pathway to changing old patterns. In other words, changing your breath can change your life! If this sounds like something you’re interested in learning more about, I invite you to check out some easy exercises or book a 20-minute complimentary discovery session!
Why the focus on breathwork?
I discovered the game-changing benefits of breathwork after a lifetime of struggling with regulating my emotions. For years I tried unsuccessfully to meditate as a way to cope with loneliness and overwhelm.
Breathwork carried me through the hardest times of my life; it’s allowed me to let go of the thinking habits, the self-judgment, and the need to please that I’d been stuck in.
The simple exercises helped me to stay present and on task long enough to calm down in the midst of the same highly stressful circumstances and people that once drained or depressed me. And trust me; I’d tried it all before – therapy, medication, more therapy.
While discovering yoga 15 years ago opened the door to new possibilities, my (short) daily breathwork practice has been a true game-changer. And this life-changing experience is my motivation for sharing these exercises as a gateway to the things you want more of: focus, energy, self-acceptance.
And those you want less of: overthinking, judging, blaming, overreacting.
How it works
Breathing, unlike other things controlled by our autonomic nervous system, such as heart rate or blood glucose level, is a two-way bridge between the conscious mind and the nervous system.
Rather than allowing the outside environment to shape our reactions, we can use our breath to influence our most foundational network linked to mood and emotions.
It is not only affected by our state it can be used to change our state. This means that by modulating your breathing, you can influence your heart rate, your blood pressure, digestion, and inflammation.
All of the responses that are embedded in our nervous systems are brought to light by the present moment of self-awareness your breath reveals. Maybe that sounds more spiritual than science, but this is the part that’s so exciting.
The new studies are coming out faster and faster, supporting the claims traditional yoga breathwork methods have been saying for years.
The methods are surprisingly simple and require just 10-15 minutes a day (based on multiple studies). Yet discovering your old patterns and learning new habits takes a bit more commitment.
This is breathing with a purpose, and it can become the pathway to changing old patterns. In other words, changing your breath can change your life! If this sounds like something you’re interested in learning more about, I invite you to check out some easy exercises or book a 20-minute complimentary discovery session today!