Breathwork is a type of active meditation with a focus on controlling the breath. There are many kinds of breathwork practice and classes are popping up all over the place as it becomes more mainstream. Breathwork can help calm the body, ground the mind and provide a clear path for energy flow. More in-depth practice with a professional breathwork practitioner can also help heal deep emotional issues.
Yoga practitioners have been doing breathwork in the form of ujai/victorious/ocean breath, alternate nostril breathing (see the ‘how to’ below) and bellows breathing for a long time, adding to the benefits of a regular yoga practice.
BENEFITS OF BREATHWORK
Reduces stress and anxiety
Calms the mind and body
Promotes better sleep
Can reduce blood pressure
I have been using the technique outlined below from Pushingbeauty.com. It’s a great practice that you set to your own short playlist. I luuurve music! It’s where I find myself in the deepest spiritual state, so this was a perfect breathwork method for me.
HOW TO PRACTICE
Start with setting up a 3 (or more) song playlist with the first two songs being more active and the last a little more quiet and contemplative.
Lay comfortably (with a blanket covering you if it’s cold) and begin to breathe in and out through the mouth. Experience the breath being inhaled into the stomach and then into the heart in a two-part inhale. Your belly and chest should expand. Allow the air to “fall out” of the body on the exhale. Don’t force it out. Do this type of breathing for the first two songs, then go back to regular nose breathing for the last song. I would suggest adding another quiet song or two on the end because you may want to stay longer like I always do!
This type of practice is said to move stagnant emotions from the chakras up to the heart so they can be processed and let go. I found it incredibly calming and rather visual. Your body may feel unusual and may tingle. For me, it felt more like a heavy floatiness if that makes sense! It felt wonderful. I got into a deeper meditative state than with a regular quiet meditation. The songs are, of course, a personal choice. For me, they were worship songs and it became a meditative time of prayer and communion with God. You do you, baby!
By the third practice, my 15 or so minutes turned into 45 and I didn’t want it to stop. I had the best night’s sleep after that one too! I will be incorporating shorter practices into my daily routine and aim for a longer practice once a week.
GOT 10 MINUTES? GOT PEACE.
For a short practice try sitting or lying comfortably and simply breathing in and out through your nose. Feel the belly and chest expand with each inhale and work on lengthening the exhale. Practice for 10 minutes daily.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING? SOUNDS WEIRD!
This is another shorter practice to enhance your calm.
Holding the pointer finger and thumb in front of your nose, use the pointer finger to cover your left nostril. Inhale, then cover the right nostril and exhale. Inhale through the same nostril then cover the other for the exhale. Cycle through one exhale and inhale through each nostril, then switch. Practice this cycle for 10 minutes whenever you need it.
Try one of these breathwork practices and see how much calmer and grounded you can become. I am personally a big fan and will continue the practice daily. I hope you do too!