What is Breathwork?
Breathwork is a New Age term for different breathing techniques, practices, and exercises. When practicing breathwork, the idea is that we bring our conscious awareness to our breath to utilize different exercises giving us ultimately the same benefits of meditation.
Breathwork is a practice that has many, many ancient roots and our breath is something that connects us all. We are able to connect with others and ourselves through our breath.
I have been fortunate enough to learn from amazing leaders in the industry about breathwork, truly honoring the practice, and integrating breathwork into my everyday life.
A Brief History of Breathwork:
Breathwork can be found in indigenous cultures across the globe and the roots of breathwork can be traced thousands of years back. Most popularly, breathwork is associated with Yoga and the ancient texts the Vedas. Yoga fundamentals describe the breath as the connecting element between the body and the life force within. In most ancient practices, the breath was manipulated because of it's ability to connect with spiritual forces, higher forces, and to the energy within. Breathwork can be found throughout all cultures and ways of life-- there is no formal lineage or origins for the breathwork we practice in modern times but there are traces of it everywhere. The Breathwork that we are practicing today stems from ritual breathwork practices across cultures and time. If you are interested in learning about the origins of breathwork in a certain culture, religion, time period, etc. Google has been an amazing resource to get started to then dive deep!
Some Basic Breathwork Practices:
Below I have included some basic breathwork practices that are useful in moment to moment practices. I have also included some information about 3-part active breathwork.
-Box Breathing- the purpose of box breathing is to take deep, steady breaths and to allow yourself to relax. This can be practiced anywhere, at any time. Box breathing gets it's name because you inhale, hold, exhale, hold, for the same amount of time. Be sure you are in a comfortable seated, lying down, or standing position, and allow yourself to pick a pace that feels good for you.
Inhale for 4 seconds
Hold for 4 seconds
Exhale for 4 seconds
Hold for 4 seconds
Repeat as many times as necessary.
(You can do anywhere from 3-8 seconds for this practice!)
-4-7-8 Breathing- this breathing technique is designed to help your body replenish it's oxygen and relax. This can be practiced anywhere, at anytime. Be sure you are in a comfortable seated, lying down, or standing position, and allow yourself to focus on the breath.
After completely exhaling, inhale through the nose for 4 seconds.
Hold for 7 seven seconds.
Exhale for 8 seconds through the mouth.
Repeat as many times as necessary.
-3 Part Active Breathwork- This breathing exercise is an active breathing pattern that is sustained anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Each session starts with a gentle warmup of 10 minutes, followed by the 20-30 minutes of active breathing, ending with 10 minutes of gentle guide down. This active breathing pattern is done exclusively through the mouth, with one inhale filling the stomach, the second inhale filling the chest, followed by an exhale. This is no universal experience but some common effects include tingling, growing hot/cold, vivid imagery, release of emotions, release of sound, crying, laughing, shaking, astral traveling, receiving messages, etc. This type of breathwork is best practiced with a facilitator and you should consult your doctor before integrating any new modality into your practice.
My Personal Experience with 3-Part Active Breathwork:
The first time I truly tried breathwork in the sense of having a session, was actually a little scary. I was informed of some of the common effects of breathwork entering the one hour session, but I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Before this I had utilized some breathing techniques in my own life, but this was a practice implemented in the moment to moment and not for a long duration. My first, 3 part, active breathing, breathwork session was very intense. I experienced horrible tetany causing my entire body to harden and retract. I felt like I was so out of control and like my body was punishing me for the practice. I gained a lot of clarity from the practice and I felt lighter but I was really scared of the way my body initially responded to it.
After this first session of breathwork, I stayed away from the practice for a few months. The next time I practiced breathwork was in a group setting and I realized I wasn't able to really drop in and practice the pattern because I was not ready to handle the possible tetany.
The next time that I practiced breathwork was 6 months later. I had decided I was looking for some support for my wellbeing and I wanted to try breathwork again. A mentor of mine was going to be running a 6-month program that consisted of weekly coaching and breathwork. Before I was able to fully commit to the 6 months I did an initial session with Vanessa to be sure that I could handle it. I also told her about my apprehension and that session helped me unlock something within me that I didn't know I fully needed.
5 months in to the 6 month program, I decided to go ahead and get my certification to facilitate breathwork because it has helped me so deeply. Breathwork has helped me learn to meditate in a way that feels really good to me. Breathwork has helped me lean into my creativity and imagination and my ability to have fun. Breathwork has helped me soften into better self care for myself. Breathwork has changed the way I approach both my personal life and my business. I feel really grateful to be able to now facilitate breathwork for others and help them unlock something within themselves too.
All of my breathwork sessions will be offered on a sliding scale of $22-44 and will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Link to book is below, but please comment any additional questions you may have!
Resources + References:
Shanila Sattar-- AlwaysPlay Studios-- www.alwaysplay.org