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  • Laurie Teixeira and Jari de Jesus

Breathwork: What It Is and How It Can Improve Your Well-Being

When we talk about "breathwork," we're referring to any breathing practice. They are frequently used as a means to enhance one's psychological, physiological, and spiritual health. Breathwork involves consciously altering your breathing rhythm.

Conscious, rhythmic breathing is at the heart of several "breathwork" therapy forms. Many people report that breathwork helps them relax deeply or gives them renewed energy.

You can train yourself to have a clear head by practicing everything from deep, regulated breathing to shallow, present breathing.

Many people do breathwork for various reasons. In healthy persons, it is believed to have a net beneficial effect on mood and stress levels.

Benefits of Breathwork

Types of Breathwork Exercises

Here are some exercises for your breathing that you might try out.

Diaphragm Breathing (Dirga Pranayama)

This is the simplest form of breathwork that you may perform. It is slow, deep breathing. It's the kind of breathing you could practice in a yoga class or with a professional practitioner.

The diaphragm, which is situated at the bottom of the lungs, is the muscle that facilitates breathing the most effectively. People with healthy lungs are responsible for roughly 80% of the work involved in each breath.

Steps To Do Diaphragm Breathing

  • Place your hands right below your navel to begin. Feel your belly relax and inflate like a balloon as you take a deep breath. Relax your belly button toward your spine as you exhale.

  • Feel your ribs with one hand and your tummy with the other. Feel the expansion of your ribcage as you take a long, deep breath in and relax your stomach.

  • Raise the hand resting on your ribcage to your upper chest, right below your collarbone. Relax your abdominal muscles, broaden your rib cage, and open your upper chest when you breathe in. Relax and let go with each inhalation.

  • Take three to five (or as many as 10) deep breaths before getting out of bed in the morning, again whenever you feel agitated during the day, and once more before going to sleep at night.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This method entails sealing down one nostril at a time and breathing in and out through the other to promote breathing alternately.

Steps To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Sit comfortably. Close your left nostril gently by using your thumb or index finger. Inhale slowly.

  • Hold your breath. Close your right nostril. Then, exhale through the left nostril.

  • Now, take a deep breath via your left nostril. Hold your breath. Put your thumb or index finger back on the left nostril. Then, exhale through your right nostril as you slowly release your breath.

  • Repeat 3, 5, or 10 times.

Box Breathing

The four-square or box breathing pattern entails holding your breath for four counts after each exhale, inhaling for the same amount of time, and then holding your breath for four counts after each inhale and exhale. It is easy to do.

Steps To Do Box Breathing:

  • Exhale deeply and slowly to the count of four.

  • Don't breathe, and keep your lungs empty for a count of four.

  • Inhale. Count to four.

  • Then, hold your breath for a count of four.

You can think of affirming thoughts or a happy place in each practice. These are just some basic types of breathing practices you can do. Others are pursed lip breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, ocean-sounding breath, lion's breath, sitali breath, humming bee breath, among others. It is essential to try them all out and choose the breathwork that suits you the best.

Breathing Tips for Beginners

Set a time: Decide on a time or times each day when you will conduct your breathing exercises.

Start small: To ease into it, try practicing using the most straightforward approaches for two to five minutes at a time. Eventually, you'll be able to go for more extended periods.

Set a reminder: It's easy to forget to try something new, so schedule a reminder in your calendar for each session.

Move your breath to the belly: The diaphragm is activated when the lower abdomen expands and contracts. Put your palm on your stomach and try to push it in and out.

Take a break: If you find it challenging to complete the exercises or lose enthusiasm, take a break and do something different. When you're ready, come back and finish what you started.

Try them all out: Alternate your breathing exercises to keep things exciting and see which ones are most beneficial for you.

Regardless of the method, the simple act of bringing awareness to the breath connects the sympathetic and parasympathetic neural systems. You can't go wrong with the basics of breathing, which are to bring in plenty of oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide.


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