Even though breathwork practices have been gaining popularity recently, this type of practice has been around for a very long time….like BCE years long. If you’re wondering what breathwork can help you with and what it is, keep reading to learn about this amazing practice.
What is breathwork?
Breathwork is basically using your breath in certain ways to help improve the health of your body, mind, and soul.
There are many different ways to practice breathwork and you can do different types of breathing techniques to work on different things. You would think breathing is pretty straight forward but there are a surprising number of ways you can work with your breath.
For example, certain breathing techniques work on calming and relaxation while other techniques work on increasing your energy.
What is pranayama?
Pranayama is basically the yogic term for breathwork and is probably one of the main ways that this practice originated.
The word “prana” means life force or our life’s energy. The practice of pranayama uses the breath to interact with this energy. This all comes back to using the breath to work on the health of your mind, body, and soul. All of these parts of our being are connected so healthy, balanced energy will lead to a healthy, balanced mind and body.
Breathwork (or pranayama) allows us to access our unconscious mind.
Think about it this way, we breathe unconsciously most of the time, which we need to do to stay alive. We don’t usually think about the fact that we’re breathing, it just happens automatically. Other things that happen unconsciously or automatically in our body is our heart beats, our food is digested, etc. But the only unconscious thing that we can directly control at any moment is our breath….at least most of us.
This is why your breath is such a powerful tool and can help to raise your vibration. Higher vibrational frequencies are associated with feeling a sense of love and joy while lower vibrational frequencies are associated with feeling things like being unmotivated or stagnant. This is why we want “high vibes” and pranayama can help you get them.
Many people live their lives “unconsciously” meaning they just go through the motions and live their lives in similar patterns which usually gives them the same results. To make significant changes in our lives, we need to shift ourselves to live more consciously. Breathwork allows us to access the unconscious mind so we can start to make this shift.
Breathing patterns directly correlate with how your mind is feeling.
The best example to illustrate this is to look at how we breathe when we’re stressed versus when we’re relaxed.
Stress tends to cause more shallow type breathing and can also cause an increase in your respiratory rate.
When you’re calm/relaxed, your breath will tend to be slower and deeper. So when you actively work on breathing in a slower and deeper manner and really focus on using the diaphragm, the mind will naturally want to quiet down and become more calm because it associates this breath with calm.
This is why pranayama allows you to directly impact your mind and why it can be so powerful.
The 8 limbs of yoga
“The 8 limbs of yoga” come from a book called, The Yoga Sutras. This is a very old text that dates back to BCE years. The 8 limbs are basically a guide to how to use yoga to help us to live more in the light. Like higher vibrations, living in the light is where we feel a deep sense of peace and joy.
Pranayama is one these 8 limbs meaning this is a very old and ancient practice.
Pranayama helps you to realize that your mind is not actually in control of you and often works unconsciously. Your highest self is actually in control of you and your entire being, including the mind.
So, what does breathwork help with?
Breathwork can help to:
- Decrease stress
- Decreasing stress not only helps your mind, it also leads to a healthier physical body which you can learn more about in this post: “How does constant stress affect the body?”
- Decrease anxiety
- Decrease fatigue OR help with sleep
- Help decrease symptoms associated with chronic pain
- Help decrease symptoms associated with certain mental health conditions
- Help us to feel more balanced and centered
- Feeling balanced allows us to feel a sense of peace which is very healing. A great breath for helping you to feel balanced is called “nadi shodhana” which is actually the pranayama practice we do in my 7 day yoga experience which you can find right here ↓↓
Click here to access your FREE 7 Day Yoga Experience
I’m sure there are many more benefits that can be attained through breathwork but even with this list you can see that pranayama can be a really powerful practice.
It can really help you to free the mind, body and soul and is a great tool to use for holistic healing since holistic living is all about working on these three parts of our being.
I have a 10 minute pranayama practice that works on helping you to feel more calm and relaxed which I’ll link below.
I find it so amazing that something so simple as consciously breathing can be so powerful. I hope you also experience the power in this practice.
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