Twenty-five thousand inhales and exhales a day. That’s how many breaths we take each day. Our life starts with an inhale and ends with an exhale. Our breath, as simple as it is, has a much bigger impact than we think it has on just everything in our life. This is the reason why consciously using through specific practices has exploded recently.
Breathwork is all over the place! It’s all the rage the past couple of years! In the US they even call it the new yoga. It has become mainstream and is taught in most yoga and meditation studios, practiced in the wellness and medical industry.
If you haven’t been to a Breathwork session yet, put it on your “must-do” list because it’s an experience that will blow your mind.
But what is Breathwork exactly and why are so many people obsessed with it?
What is breathwork
Breathwork refers to any type of breathing practice in which the conscious control of breathing is said to influence a person’s mental, emotional, or physical state.
It comes in many forms. There's a type of breathing exercise for literally everything you want to reach in terms of changing the way you feel whether it’s stress relief, increased focus, physical performance, or deeper spiritual transformation.
Sitting or lying down, during a workout or a speech in public, conscious breathing is a safe and natural way to hack into our physiology to alter our physical or emotional state. Regular practice is key to improving health, performances, and ultimately overall happiness.
Breathing practices aren’t new though. They have been part of the yogic tradition for thousands of years, known as Pranayama. This Sanskrit term made of “prana” meaning vital life force associated with the breath and “yama” meaning gaining control, is one of the eight limbs, pillars of the yogic path.
The breathwork I teach in group classes is based on the Pranayama two-stage technique which consists of a two-part inhale, first into the belly, then into the chest and an exhale, all through the mouth and in a continuous flow. Breath is life force, energy, so this circular way of breathing creates a powerful flow of energy that allows an intense experience to take place. The experience is much bigger than our mind can comprehend because most of it happens at the level of our unconscious mind which is the place where our limiting beliefs are settled.
Through our life experience, especially childhood, we create limiting, negative beliefs that at a certain time served for our survival, but now are limiting us. We keep listening to and believing in these beliefs because they’re unconscious. Most of the time we don’t even know they’re still here, and when we do, we don’t know how to get rid of them.
Let’s say you have a limiting belief from a childhood experience around trust. Even though today you consciously think it’s safe to trust someone, unconsciously (which is about 95% of your decisions, actions, emotions, and behaviors) you believe it’s not. The same goes for self-worth, love and any other kinds of beliefs.
Breathing through the mouth is here specifically used to cleanse, to clear out. Breath, the energy we create through it, dives into the depth through the layers of consciousness. At the conscious level, during breathwork we experience and feel this energy in the form of physical sensations, energy blocks and stress are clearing from the body. At the unconscious level the false limiting beliefs are cleared, emotional blocks are released which is a reason why we can feel emotional during breathwork.
We attract and manifest what we believe. Change your breath, change your life. This is what breathwork is all about. We learn to surrender and trust the power of our breath, the natural wisdom of our body. We’re able to tune in, hear and trust our own intuition. Clearing out and making space for new experiences based on what’s in our heart, our true essence.
You might wonder how it is possible, simply by breathing to create such a powerful experience. Well, as I said earlier, the experience is much bigger than our mind can comprehend, and my advice is to surrender and let the breath do what it needs to.
That said, I also find it important to understand and know the science behind what I practice and it’s seriously fascinating! So, let’s dive into it.
The science behind breathwork
Knowing more about the science behind breathwork makes it easy to understand why it has such an impact on the different planes of our life.
The mechanics of breathing
What happens when we breathe? Breathing in is an expansion, an opening and breathing out is a contraction. We all know that the diaphragm is THE muscle related to breathing, don’t we? It’s the biggest muscle in our entire body. This big guy works together with our core muscles to get our breathing going.
With the inhale it contrac