The average person breathes in and out approximately 22, 000 times a day. While it’s an obviously essential part of life, because it is something that we do without realizing, it can often take a backseat in it’s importance. While we know that without breathing, we cannot live, the other benefits of breathwork that it can provide for us, both physically and mentally, is often overlooked, yet cannot be underestimated.
What is breathwork?
Breathwork is a wellness practice. It is a powerful tool that contributes to your wellbeing, can make a difference in your mental and emotional health and can also ease the effects of physical activity such as exercising.
It refers to the act of controlling your breathing to encourage positive physical and mental effects. These exercises or techniques are intended to consciously change your breathing pattern to alter your current state of mind and shift your energy.
The benefits of breathwork
Breathwork promotes a range of benefits, including:
- Improved oxygen circulation and lung strength
- More energy
- Enhanced creativity
- Decreased stress and anxiety levels
- Release negative thoughts
- Induce calmness
- Better sleep
How to incorporate breathwork into your daily life
The beauty of breathwork is that you can do it anywhere, and at any time. You also have the option of doing just a minute or two of breathing if you’re short on time. Whis can make a difference, if you really want to reap the benefits, then it’s important to practice daily. With continued practice, you’ll be able to feel the positive effects of breathwork throughout your day-to-day ilfe.
Practice when you first wake up and before you go to bed
For most people, it’ll be the easiest to incorporate daily breathwork is by doing it when you first wake up or right before you go to bed. For most, this will be when you will have some downtime to focus on yourself. However, work with your own schedule and find the time that best suits your lifestyle.
Part of reaping the benefits of breathing is to relax. To do so, you need to ensure that you are comfortable when doing it so you won’t be distracted and can focus as much as possible.
Find a comfortable position. If you’re seated on the floor, you can be on your knees with your hands before you or cross-legged—whichever you prefer. You can also lie down if that works for you. Most find that having closed eyes enables them to focus on their breath better or you can alternatively look at the floor before you or the ceiling.
You don’t need to do anything big or fancy when doing breathwork practice. Even small things is enough to get you started and in the right direction, such as doing 10 deep breaths in and out.
Stick to it
Remember that the more you practice your breathwork, the easier it’ll become. It’s not uncommon for people to struggle to focus when first starting out. However, like anything, the more you do it, the more you’ll become accustomed to it and find it easier to enter a state of calmness.
Find what breathing type works for you
There are different methods of breathwork practices that you can incorporate into your daily life such as:
Controlled breathing – Changing the body’s natural breathing pattern by grounding you and helping to centre your focus on your breathing.
Diaphragmeatic breathing – This is also called belly or abdominal breathing. It’s an exercise that focuses on using your entire diaphragm.
Circular breathing – A breathing pattern that promotes long and slow exhalation and inhalation.
Pranayama breathing – Also referred to as yogic breathing. It connects the breath to the body and uses movement to aid in this practice.
Some breathing work is faster than others while others are slower-paced. The type of breathwork you should do depends on your preference and needs. Experiment with some different ones to find what works best for you.
Box breathing: Box breathing is also referred to as 4-4-4-4, square breathing or Sama Vritti. It’s a practice in which the inhales, exhales and pauses are for the same length of time.
- Find a comfortable position and close your eyes or a find a spot to focus on.
- Breath in for a count of four.
- Hold this breath for another four seconds.
- Slowly breathe out for four.
- Hold your breath for four seconds.
- Repeat as many times as needed.
Some people find it helpful to visualize a square in their mind. Then starting at one corner of the square, imagine tracing a finger across to the next corner with each count of four.
4-7-8: This breathwork provides set times for each inhale, pause and exhale.
- After finding a comfortable position, release all the air in your lungs.
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold this breath for seven seconds.
- Slowly exhale from your mouth for a count of eight.
- Repeat as many times as needed.
Alternate-nostril breathing: This is a pranayama breathing technique that uses movement to connect the mind and body.
- Find a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Place your thumb on your right nostril, closing it.
- Take a deep inhale into your left nostril.
- Close your left nostril with your fingers and release your right nostril.
- Slowly and fully exhale out of your right nostril.
- Inhale deeply into your right nostril then close it.
- Open your left nostril and fully exhale from this side.
- Repeat as many times as necessary.
Take this 30-minute somatic breathwork journey and travel inward to experience a heightened state of consciousness and released stored energy within the body.