Although the gifts of breathwork are many, here is a list of ten that we’ve compiled to show just how incredible breathwork truly is!
Breathwork, the process of breathing with conscious awareness, is a powerful way to enter into the depths of the subconscious, accessing the body’s inherent ability to heal. Like meditation, breathwork is a practice that is thousands of years old; it is a means for deep emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. By oxygenating the body, increasing blood flow, and moving beyond the thinking mind, it is a potent tool to release stuck and stagnant energy and tune back into intuition, creativity, and wisdom. The body is all-knowing, and the breath allows us to connect back home to our truth.
The act of conscious breathing raises our energy and our vibration, becoming a portal to our highest selves and a means to reach our full potential. Although the gifts of breathwork are many, here is a list of ten that we’ve compiled to show just how incredible breathwork truly is!
1. Reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and tension
With the nature of today’s world, feelings of stress, anxiety, and tension are quite common. The way in which we breathe directly impacts our emotional and psychological states. When we breathe shallowly, we send a signal to our bodies that it is time to prepare for stress, and our sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response, kicks on. However, breathing more fully, consciously, and deeply, as we do in breathwork, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, our mode of calm and relaxation. Breathing in this way can create feelings of groundedness, balance, and tranquility while reducing overall stress, anxiety, and tension.
2. Connects us back home to Self
For many of us, the body can feel like a challenging place to live because it is the place where we have experienced trauma and pain. As a result, we walk through the world disconnected from our bodies, attempting to detach from emotions to protect ourselves from discomfort and suffering. But we did not come into this world to not be with ourselves. When we can live in our bodies and connect back home to Self, our essence, and our truth, we can live in a world guided by presence, security, and intuition. We can lead our lives through the heart. Breathwork brings us back home. It moves us out of the thinking mind and into the body, into the heart, and into the subconscious, the spaces of innate intelligence, curiosity, and love. When we reside in this inner space, we can find deep healing, as we can work with and begin to process emotions in a way that is perceived as safe and supported. Breathwork moves us away from abandoning our deepest layers and befriending each and every part of us so that we can live presently in wholeness, balance, and reverence.
3. Allows us to feel safe to sit with emotions
Part of coming back home to ourselves is learning how to be with our emotions, including the ones that may invoke discomfort. During breathwork, emotions can rise to the surface, unearthing themselves to be fully seen, felt, and released. As the breath begins to breathe us, we find that we have the ability to witness and surrender to the emotions that may have been repressed or stuck in the body, and to be with and breathe alongside them and through them. The breathwork container, as a microcosm of the macrocosm, reveals to us that we can be with challenging emotions and be okay as and after we feel them. Breathwork teaches us that we can learn to trust in our own emotions and use them to guide us through and heal from pain, trauma, and fear.
4. Releases trauma
When emotions and trauma go unprocessed, they can get stuck and stored in the body, creating energetic blockages and sometimes physical adhesions, holding us back from living life as fully as we are meant to. Talk therapy is an incredible tool for helping to recognize and sort out the emotions, the thoughts, and the traumas, however, it is not always able to release them from the body. Breathwork, on the other hand, brings us straight to the root, unwinding stagnant energy and releasing traumas, deep emotions, physical pain and injury, and psychological patterns. The act of consciously breathing brings us into the subconscious, the place where we hold the pain and the wounding, but brings us there in a state of witnessing, spaciousness, and receptivity, allowing us to be with and work through the emotions and traumas that arise in a way that feels supportive. As we bypass the conscious mind, we unblock, unravel, and clear what we may have been subconsciously holding onto for a very long time.
5. Re-establishes clarity and creativity
Clarity and creativity seep into our world from the deep, quiet spaces within us, from the places of inner listening and silence. In a world of option overload and activity, we rarely give our minds the rest that it so needs. When the mind is fatigued from the constant thinking and processing of thoughts, thinking clearly and creatively can feel somewhat strained. However, when the thinking mind can soften and take a back seat, as it does through breathwork, the channels of wisdom, inspiration, and artistry can open up. Breathwork allows us to journey inward, away from the distractions and interruptions of the external world, and move beyond the constrained egocentric ways of thinking, opening us up to authenticity, presence, and understanding. Additionally, breathing stimulates blood flow circulation in the brain, and thus, fresh life force energy, aiding in the flow of creativity.
6. Fosters self-love
For many of us, we can get stuck in the psychological loop of feeling like we are not enough, or not deserving, or not worthy, making it challenging to love ourselves fully. As breathwork connects us to Universal Source Energy (the earth, the cosmos, the animals, the birds, the trees, and all the elements), we begin to open to the deep self-love and the energy of Source and Divinity (Spirit).
7. Magnifies intuition
Our ability to tune into the voice within can be compromised by feelings of stress, overwhelm, worry, and fear, making it difficult to trust ourselves and our intuition. Our intuition, living in the calm waters of our bodies and connected to Mother Nature, is an innate superpower that can be more easily accessed when we reside in spaces of peace, tranquility, and love. Breathwork gives us the moment to pause and listen and connect to Source and our Higher Self, helping us to tap into our essence, our truth, and our intuition.
8. Frees us from limiting beliefs
The brain is neuroplastic, meaning that it adapts and wires itself to work efficiently and with as little conscious effort as possible. Neural pathways, once created, devote themselves to specific thoughts or thought patterns, becoming stronger the more that we use them. This is why it can be so challenging to release and rewrite limiting beliefs, attachments, addictions, or stories - they become wired in the brain, only to be reconstructed by rewiring the neural pathways. Breathwork allows us to not only move out of the thinking mind, the ego, the place that creates the limiting beliefs, the attachments, and the stories, but it creates this neuroplastic change, similar to plant medicine and psychedelics. It is by entering into the body, into the heart, into these heightened spaces of awareness, and moving past the ego, that we find liberation and come back to who we are by melting down the constructs, releasing the stories, and journeying into new ways of being.
9. Guides us to be our own healer
Breathwork allows us to journey into our internal space, seeing that we have the capacity, strength, and power to be with whatever challenges we are facing, and be with it by holding and supporting ourselves instead of disconnecting and abandoning ourselves. By connecting back home to Self, to the body, and to the heart, we can begin to trust in our inner compass and inner guide, knowing that we have the resources for healing deep within. Breathwork shows us that we do not have to search beyond ourselves for answers, healing, or support; it empowers us to look into the depths of ourselves. The breath is medicine, it is healing, and it is always available.
10. Lets us consciously explore altered states of consciousness
A breathwork experience can mirror one of plant medicine, as it can be psychedelic, can foster a sense of oneness toward self and spirit, and can connect us deeply with the universe. The practice creates a sacred container to explore Self and awaken to deeper and heightened states of awareness, moving away from the ego and into the space of inherent wisdom and Source Energy. When we access non-ordinary states of consciousness, we can tap into our inner guidance and intelligence, communicate with it, and learn from our greatest teacher, ourselves. Additionally, breathwork plays with the way in which our conscious and subconscious minds interact, opening us up to greater healing, inspiration, and presence.
Besides breathing, grieving is one of the most natural things that we do. We are designed with the capacity to grieve, and we intuitively know how to do it. Yes, it is sad, gut-wrenching, and hurts our hearts, but it is organic. Thus, grieving is not the problem, it is our relationship to it, a relationship that is largely impacted by the societal undervaluing of vulnerability.
2020 has quickly become the year of all things breath related, from Covid-19’s attack on our lungs and needing to breath through a mask, to the Black Lives Matter slogan #ICantBreathe, from the last words of Eric Garner, to the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. We no longer can take our breath for granted. The truth is, we should never have taken our breath for granted.