What is Breathwork?

What is Breathwork?

Written by Sheila Zayas

09/09/2021

Breathing is an involuntary brain function and it gets little attention. It happens automatically to keep you alive even during sleep. Breathwork is active respiration, an intentional breathing practice used to reach higher states of consciousness. Intentionally changing your breathing pattern helps release trauma, mental blocks, anger, grief, depression and anxiety. 

Regular respiration is effortless and straightforward; breathwork requires coordinating your whole body. Your chest, diaphragm, belly, back and brain are all involved in breathing exercises. Incorrect breathing can cause soreness in your shoulders, neck and back. 

How Breathing Techniques Benefit Mind, Body & Spirit

Immediate benefits occur when employing breathing techniques. Your parasympathetic nervous system (commonly called your “rest and digest” system) is activated, slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. While some are awaiting validation from the science community, you can expect any of the following benefits from daily conscious breathing:

  • Reduces stress and your body’s response to chronic stress 
  • Creates altered states of consciousness and a deeper connection to your higher self
  • Reduces anxiety, grief, depression and anger
  • Releases unprocessed trauma, fear and negative emotions
  • Increases your energy level
  • Boosts immunity
  • Increases your self-awareness and presence
  • Increases your self-love and joy
  • Promotes lung and cardiovascular health

Long-term, daily practice of any breathing techniques can yield various mental, physical and spiritual benefits. 

Types of Breathwork Practices

Breathwork is any controlled breathing exercise done consciously with intent and self-awareness. Numerous variations and types of breathing techniques exist, including some of these popular practices: 

Emergence Breath

Conscious connected breathing that helps integrate, re-program and release negative beliefs or sabotaging behaviors, replacing them with new feelings of peace, passion, and joy!

Shamanic Breathwork

Intense breathing allows for powerful healing by awakening your inner shaman and creating an altered, dream-like state. 

Vivation®

Circular breathing heals trauma and stress through focused awareness, creating a feeling of being whole and embracing life.

Transformational Breath®

Gentle, conscious breathing technique that releases mind and body blockages, improving your mental, physical and emotional health. 

Holotropic Breathwork

Steady, rapid breathing is used to induce a natural altered state giving you access to a deeper consciousness to bring out the trauma that requires healing. 

Clarity Breathwork

Gentle yet powerful healing is used to release old energy, negativity and trauma, making way for inner calmness, alignment with your purpose and being fully present.

Rebirthing

Similar to Clarity Breathwork, Rebirthing is a rejuvenation therapy meant to release suppressed trauma and negative emotions, including your experiences during birth. 

Intentional Breathing is a Powerful Practice

Breathing is your lifeforce. You inhale and exhale thousands of times a day unconsciously and without intent. Used alone or with complementary practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness, your breathwork is powerful enough to connect your mind, body and spirit to your inner consciousness.  Learning to make a conscious practice out of breathing allows your mind and body to let go of old energy related to past trauma and negative experiences. Your self-improvement work enables you to heal, be fully present in the moment and improve almost every aspect of your life.

Intentional breathing activates your mind and body’s natural ability to heal. Breathwork is considered low-risk; however, if you have any existing medical conditions, you should speak with your doctor before participating in this type of therapy. If you are interested in trying a breathing technique, Sheila Zayas of The Sanctuary for Mind, Body & Spirit offers  Emergence Breath sessions.

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