Frequently asked questions about breathwork and its benefits
Our breath is our life force, our energy, our spirit, our essence, our consciousness.
It is said that how we breathe is how we live. And so, to live life to its fullest, we must breathe to our fullest. Breathwork is the conscious awareness of our breath.
Breathing reconnects us to ourselves and the collective, to our inner nature and to mother nature. Our breath is the bridge between our conscious and subconscious minds. Breathwork is a powerful way to access your body’s innate intelligence to heal itself.
Breathwork offers the chance for personal growth, awakening and transformation through improved mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Because breathwork literally raises our energy — our frequency — it is the key therapeutic modality we use at Frequency in our journey into healing and wholeness.
In fact, in the seminal book The Healing Power of the Breath, Dr. Richard Brown, MD and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, MD write;
“By changing the patterns of breathing it is possible to restore balance to stress response systems, calm an agitated mind, relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve physical health and endurance, elevate performance, and enhance relationships.”
Breathwork is critical to our mental and emotional health because how we breathe directly informs how we feel. If we want to feel good, then we need to learn the art of breathing. Breathwork pioneer Dan Brule sums it up perfectly when he states;
“Every psychological state, every emotional state, every physiological state has a corresponding or associated breathing pattern. The way we breathe when we are peaceful and calm is different than the way we breathe when we are angry and upset.
The benefits of breathwork are limitless, and range from mental, emotional, physical, energetic and spiritual health and growth. By learning Breathwork, you learn how to shift your energy, or your frequency, and uplevel into new levels of consciousness and awareness and health. Dan Brule writes;
When your state changes, your breathing pattern changes. And it’s a two-way street: when you change your breathing pattern, you change your state! We can use the breath to hack into our nervous system, our brain, our immune system. We can use the breath to choose our state!
Yes, breathwork has incredible benefits both for your physical and mental health. Breathwork reduces stress and anxiety, boosts your mood, alkalizes your blood, strengthens your immune system, and enhances concentration and energy. In fact, journalist James Nestor, author of the praised book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, goes so far as to write;
“The greatest indicator of life span wasn’t genetics, diet, or the amount of daily exercise, as many had suspected. It was lung capacity.”
Breathwork is an active meditation. While they are both mindfulness practices and have deeply therapeutic benefits, for many people who struggle with monkey mind, or are type A thinkers, meditation can often be a difficult and often frustrating experience, where people feel stuck in their head. Breathwork on the other hand, since it’s an active practice that’s more akin to a physical workout, or what we like to call mental fitness, gives people something to focus on, their breath, and offers an immediate feedback loop. You know you’re getting the benefits because within minutes you physically and emotionally feel a shift. If you’re keen to learn more about why a breathwork practice might be a better fit for you over meditation, we recommend this article that talks why you might want to choose breathwork as your new mindfulness practice.
Yes, absolutely. Not only can breathwork relieve stress and anxiety, but it does so just in the length of one session. Unlike meditation, which often doesn’t give people immediate relief, our members continue to report that they feel immediate relief from stress and anxiety in their breathwork sessions. This is because breathwork is an active and physical mindfulness practice, which both gives the mind and body something to focus on (the breath) and also stimulates the vagus nerve, which has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety by shifting the nervous system out of flight or flight.
Breathwork can help with burnout by bringing the body and mind into homeostasis. James Nestor writes;
The fastest way to build a better, stronger health foundation is to start a breathwork practice. It’s one of the fastest ways to reduce anxiety, stress, and the buildup of feelings that can overwhelm and cause burnout.”
Science is finally catching up with breathwork.
Our breath, or "prana", is what keeps us alive. Yet so often, we go through the day shallow breathing, which keeps us in a state of anxiety, panic, and fear. Breathwork, the process of deep rhythmic breathing, moves us out of fight or flight and into the parasympathetic nervous system.
We’re now seeing the benefits and science of breathwork proven by the likes of by Harvard University Medical School and Johns Hopkins. Additionally, well regarded health experts like Dave Asprey, Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss are now talking about the power of Breathwork.
Deep breathing also improves heart rate variability (HRV), which is the measurement of variations within beat-to-beat intervals.
Yes, breathwork stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps the body move from fight or flight (the sympathetic nervous system) to rest and digest, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system. When the body is able to move into the “rest and digest” state of relaxation as a result of deep breathing, sleep comes more easily.
Diaphragmatic breathing (also referred to as "slow abdominal breathing") is something you can do anytime and anywhere to instantly stimulate your vagus nerve and lower stress responses associated with "fight-or-flight" mechanisms.
You can do breathwork daily. In fact, the more you do it, the greater the benefits. Like exercise, it’s cumulative. Also, the more you practice breathwork, the deeper you go into your healing journey. Whether you’re healing on a physical, mental, emotional, energetic or spiritual level, breathwork is deeply therapeutic and can help you release trauma, pain, addictions that you might be holding for years.
Yes, because Breathwork can allow for intense emotional and physical release it is not advised to do Breathwork if you have a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment, aneurysms, or recent surgery. Additionally, Breathwork is not advised for people with seizure disorders. Pregnant women are advised against doing the Two Part Breathwork.
That’s what we’re here for! :)
Frequency offers a 14 day free trial so you can learn how to do breathwork from the comfort of your living room with heart led teachers who will guide you through your first session.
Breathwork certainly can be psychedelic. This often depends on the length of the session you’re doing and what type of breathwork. Certain types of breathwork evoke psychedelic experiences more than others. If you are looking to have a psychedelic or non-ordinary state of consciousness experience, we’d recommend the Two Part Breath. To learn more about the psychedelic effects of Breathwork, head on over to this article on the similarities between plant medicine, psychedelics and breathwork.
Sit or lay comfortably. Breathe consciously with the circle. Repeat. Feel the shift.