What Is Breathwork? The Key To Awakening Your Full Potential
You’re sharing a glass of wine and chatting with a close friend, and she’s telling you about this incredible work she’s been doing on herself to better her life and her wellbeing. Your reply? “That’s great! What therapist are you seeing?” She looks at you confused. “Therapist? No, I’ve been doing breathwork!”
You sit there staring at her as though she’s grown two heads. What on earth is breathwork?! Meditation yes, hypnotherapy potentially, but breathwork?
It’s a new practice coming into societies ‘norm’, but breathwork has been around longer than you may think, with many facts ingrained in science. What is Breathwork?
The majority of us in the Western World have forgotten how to breathe properly. This is due to a multitude of factors such as lifestyle, city living, increased stress, and burn out which continues to be on the rise (according the World Health Organisation). The way we breathe has a direct impact on the quality of life we have, so it is incredibly important to transform our dysfunctional breathing patterns back into healthy ones as well as find ways too clear ongoing stress. So many are now turning towards our breath as a way to release stress, anxiety and trauma from our body. Many in the Wellbeing community have stated that Breathwork will be the next yoga due to its growing popularity. There is also an awakening happening where many of us are looking for tools to help us reach optimal wellbeing, to live our truths and awaken to our full potential. And of course we have the science to confirm that yes, Breathwork could be one of the best wellbeing tools of our time.
Our breath is one of the only functions of our autonomic nervous system that we can self regulate, and it acts as the bridge connecting all of our bodily systems and functions. When we learn to use the breath properly through our Breathwork practice, we quite literally find the key to changing how we feel in any moment (and over time can positively impact our physical health, wellbeing and life in general ). We are able to promote emotional healing as well as physical and mental wellbeing at the deepest level.
At Rhythm of Breath, we consider a Breathwork practice to be a combination of breathing techniques to support your daily functional breathing as well as immersive and powerful experiences to dramatically change your state and reconnect you back to your higher self. Think of the breath as your gas pedal which controls the speed of your vehicle (your body). We have the ability to slow down the engine (parasympathetic nervous system – calm, rest, digest), or to put our foot down (sympathetic – activate high energy and functioning).
Functional Breathwork Techniques – We take 24,000 breaths a day approximately which is why functional breathing is important to maintain on a daily basis. There are many techniques and practices which can support optimal health, ensuring our body has all the oxygen it requires to perform our basic functioning, cellular repair, autoimmune and gut health and general energy production. Belly breathing, Buteyko Method and Wim Hof Method provide examples of calming anxiety, stress, and creating balance in our nervous system.
Activating Breathwork Techniques – There are many different types of Breathwork techniques and schools available which teach powerful and activating Breathwork styles such as Wim Hof Method, Shamanic Breathwork, BBTRS (Biodynamic Breath & Trauma Release System), Conscious Connected Breathwork, Alchemy of Breath, Holotropic Breathwork, Rebirthing Breathwork, Soma Breathwork. Each technique has a slightly different focus in the state that they aim to access which ranges from experiencing states of psychedelic, grounding, optimal health, therapeutic, spiritual awakening, personal growth, rebirthing experience etc. What all of these approaches have in common is the intention to move and release energy flow in the body to be able to return to our natural state of health, wellbeing and deep connection to our higher self. Generally speaking, these more activating types of Breathwork techniques mentioned above intend to:
send more oxygen into our body at a cellular level
activate the body’s natural healing ability
promote self-exploration and self-awareness
offer a path to conscious personal transformation
release stress, activate qi, prana, energy flow in the body
awaken us to our full potential
much much more…
What are the overall Benefits of Breathwork?
There are so many benefits, too many to mention all in this short post, but here are some of the main benefits of Breathwork that have been reported and/or proven:
Physical body – a RE-STORING and healing at a cellular level. Relief, reduction, or complete letting go of physical pain. Creating and maintaining a optimal health in our body.
Emotional body – a RE-LEASE of heavy or dense emotions, stored trauma, and the resurgence of feelings of calmness, balance, peace and joy. Calms anxiety & stress.
Energetic system – a RE-TURNING of scattered energetic “parts” bringing a subtle experience of wholeness, balance and re-alignment.
Spiritual body – RE-CONNECTION to Higher self, Universal energy, flow, the increase of ‘prana’ or ‘chi’ moving easily through and around you.
General – A feeling of lightness and a return to your natural state of peace and truth, allowing positive energy, clarity, insights and overall higher vibrational living.
I am Curious, How Do I Get Started with a Breath-work?
It’s an entirely personal choice whether you choose an individual or group setting for your first session. My first experience of a particular type of Breathwork called Rebirthing, and was an individual session with an amazing Facilitator where I experienced a very personal, intense and deep healing. Equally, I love and enjoy the collective experiences that are shared in a group setting, and the powerful energy that group work holds!
Either way, if you are considering your first session, knowing the transformations it can bring, I am very excited for you to start your Breathwork journey! Choose your Practitioner carefully, please ensure whoever you work with is trained to hold space accordingly, and work with trauma if you need that support.
In the meantime, if you would like to chat further about the possibility of working together, find out more about what an individual or group session offers, or if you are already working towards optimal wellbeing and are looking to go deeper with an experienced practitioner, please contact me directly. Our Rhythm of Breath practice offers a variety of Breathwork techniques and body-based approaches to help you breakthrough and supercharge your health and wellbeing.