Everywhere we turn these days we are hearing about the healing and expansive properties of breathwork. So what is breathwork? How do we use it, and what are its implications?
Breathwork has various styles and applications and many claim that it can reduce anxiety, improve stamina, help boost immune function, and increase physical capacity. Tuning into the breath and practicing a specific sequence with the breath is a practical way to tune inward.
Some examples of basic breath work are observing the inhalation and exhalation, which is the most basic version of breathwork. Even drawing a deep breath in and exhaling with a big sigh can be a simple form of breathwork. Other more intense forms of breathwork can be the Three Part Breath which is recommended and practiced by the famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
Here are some simple instructions for his breath work practice.
1) Come into a comfortable seated or standing position. Take a deep breath through the nose into the abdomen so that it expands out like a balloon.
2) Next continue the inhale to expand the ribcage with air.
3) Continue the inhale further to now expand the chest all the way to the upper chest, like a balloon.
Then reverse the procedure by exhaling out first from the chest, then the ribcage, then the abdomen. Pulling in on the abdominal muscles at the end of the exhale, getting out all the air. Then reverse the process by breathing in again. Imagine that your torso is a glass and that the glass fills up from the bottom to the top and then empties from the top down to the bottom. Do this for up to 15 minutes.
Other purveyors of breath work include the famed Wim Hof who along with cold therapy has created a method that many are using for a host of reasons including performance enhancement all the way to curing depression.
Another method of note is holotropic breathwork in which breath is combined with musical elements like a sound bath intended to assist the participant to experience non-ordinary states of consciousness.
Of course we must mention our dear friend Anahata Ananda who teaches part shamanic, part angelic breathwork. Be sure to check out this incredible podcast we recorded with her after our first Shamangelic breathwork experience. It was simply divine!
The actual method and sequence of the breath is as varied as the methods but breathwork is certainly making its way into the mainstream as another wellness tool that can assist in myriad circumstances.
If you would like to learn more here are a few sites we recommend.