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Breathwork: Beginner’s Guide

Our breath is a conduit of life. It is one of the most sacred, yet often overlooked and forgotten, parts of our daily existence.

And the average adult breathes about 17,000 – 23,000 times per day at 12 to 16 breaths per minute! It is not only there to help animate your body, but also to help it heal, purge old energy and toxins, and invite in whatever is new and invigorating.

What is Breathwork?

Breathwork is an active form of meditation that allows you to positively alter the body, mind, heart and produce therapeutic transformation.

There are numerous forms of breathwork, while some go right back to the old yogic practice of pranayama, others are relatively modern such as the Wim Hof Method.

breathwork

Benefits of Breathwork

There’s a vast array of benefits associated with regularly practicing breathwork. Here are few reasons to tap into the incredible power of breath:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety, grief, depression, and anger
  • Improves immunity
  • Develop or increase a sense of self-awareness
  • Enrich creativity
  • Boost happiness
  • Boost confidence, self-esteem, and self-image
  • Helps you to process emotions, heal emotional pain and trauma
  • Heightens mental clarity
  • Amplifies intuition
  • Strengthen the body-mind connection
  • Deepens spirituality
  • Increase mindfulness and appreciation of life

The physical benefits of deep breathing are often immediate. By breathing deeply, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and in turn, slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure – creating a feeling of calm.

When life feels overwhelming: The 4-7-8 breath

It slows the heart rate, brings your consciousness to the present moment, slows the nervous system, and bring a feeling of calm and peace.

Ideal when yo’re short on time, but feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry, triggered, restless, and have trouble sleeping. 

How to do it:

Breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, exhale out of the mouth for 8 seconds.

Repeat at least 4 times.

When you need an energy boost: The 4-4-4- breath

This breathwork technique slows the heart rate, deepens concentration, and heightens efficiency and performance.

How to do it:

Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, hold your inhale at the top for 4 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.

Repeat at least 4 times.

When everything is annoying you: The 5-5-5 breath

Also known as Box Breathing, is helpful regardless whether you’re going to combat with your kids, or your boss. It’s actually a very simple technique used by Navy Seals during combat to relax and get focused.

How to do it:

Inhale very slowly through your nose for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, release the breath through your mouth for 5 seconds.

Repeat for 5-10 cycles.

When you are looking to find inner peace: Pranayama

Also known as Nadi Sadhana, alternate nostril breathing, this is an ancient yogic breathwork technique that helps to calm you down and find inner peace. Ideal for those who suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

This technique is also said to enhance mental focus, remove toxins from the body, balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain

How to do it:

Block off one nostril, exhale and inhale through the open passageway before switching sides.

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Your breath is your inherent healer. Whenever you need a burst of fresh energy, breathe. Whenever you need to process heavy emotions, breathe. Whenever you need to calm down, breathe.

Taryn Raine
 

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