Breathwork: How Controlled Breathing Could Change Your Life
Unlock the transformative power of breathwork and experience life-changing benefits. Dive into the world of controlled breathing techniques that promise to enhance your well-being, reduce stress, and promote mental clarity. Explore a guide to incorporating mindful breathing into your daily routine, and discover the profound impact it can have on your physical and mental health.
By Sophie Bronstein / Jan 09 2024
Breathing may be one of the most natural involuntary actions in our bodies - but because of this, it can be easy to dismiss the benefits that doing it properly can have on our health. While it’s perfectly normal to assume that we inherently know how to breathe properly, and that there should be no ‘work’ involved, learning to control and manipulate our breathing can have countless positive effects on the quality of our health.
Recently, I gave breathwork a go for the first time. Admittedly, I was tempted by seeing others doing it on TikTok (100% my guilty pleasure and I spend far more time scrolling it than I should), but as someone that is on a constant endeavour to find practices that will benefit my mental health, I thought it was worth a try.
I subscribed to an online breathwork platform (Breathwrk), as taking the plunge to find a local practitioner felt like a bit much given that as a working mother, I much prefer doing things from the comfort of my own home (call me lazy, but a hot bath of an evening followed by some solo meditation is my idea of perfection).
benefits of breathwork
I did a bit of research before trying breathwork out. I found that, apparently, the list of benefits are endless, and can range from achieving more inner peace and tranquillity, to emotional healing and a reduction in anxiety.
On a physical level, it even has the ability to strengthen the diaphragm, activate the respiratory system and increase lung capacity. Needless to say, as someone that suffers with my mental health, the mental benefits were what sold it to me most.
There are also a number of studies that back up the claims that breathwork is a game-changer when it comes to optimising one’s health. In a 2007 study published in the Journal of Breath Research, it was found that super deep breathing can have a beneficial effect on heart rate, blood pressure and other aspects of heart health.
In 2020, a review of 23 studies published in the Complimentary Therapies in Medicine journal, found that breathwork was effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
mind + spirit
does breathwork actually work?
I’ve been practising breathwork now for around three months. I have always been into meditation, and while breathwork is a form of meditation, it does feel different. Somehow, focusing solely on the breath helps to stop the mind from wandering (which mine is definitely prone to doing) and I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my sleep and anxiety.
Wondering where to start? Try a simple exercise and see how it works for you.
First, find a quiet, comfortable space where you can sit or lay down (I like to lay down but this is purely personal preference). Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath, noticing the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body.
Start to take a deep, slow breath, in through your nose, counting to four. Hold your breath for another count of four before slowly exhaling through your mouth for a count of four. Hold your breath for four seconds before taking your next inhale.
Repeat this cycle for five minutes, gradually increasing the duration of each count as you become more comfortable. This breathing pattern is often referred to as ‘box breathing’, and can be a helpful tool for calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety.
How did you find it? We’d love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: this article is here for educational purposes only and is written from personal experience and opinion we are not giving active advice.
You should always seek the advice and support of mental health professionals if you have queries about your health.