Why Breathwork?

If you’ve heard about this breathwork thing lately but you haven’t tried it yet, you may be wondering what the big deal is. I can honestly say breathwork is not the sort of thing I ever would have thought I’d become super-passionate about. I gave it a try pretty randomly during a period when I was sampling lots of different healing modalities – yoga, reiki, kirtan, sound baths, breathwork. Most of them actually stuck. Breathwork stuck the most.

If I could sum it up in one sentence, I guess I would say this: It’s truly amazing that we possess something this powerful inside our own bodies, and most of us have no idea. It’s a miracle. Using this very simple tool, we can regulate ourselves and we can heal ourselves in way that is as fundamental to each and every one of us as…. well, breathing. Literally! This thing you do all day, every day – automatically and subconsciously – has the power to change your life when you do consciously.

Think of it like an active meditation… one where you might go on a psychedelic journey or have an enormous emotional release.

Best of all, science will back me up on all of this! I’ve included links to some studies and articles from highly reputable sources below.

Nervous system regulation and mental wellness

Breathwork is one of the primary modalities of the polyvagal theory, which posits that we move in and out of different fight-or-flight states subconsiously and automatically as a result of triggers within our daily lives. Regular breathwork can help increase your overall sense of contentment and joy, and it can help increase mindfulness. If you put some time and energy into learning which breaths to use during which situations, it can also give you a fairly impressive arsenal of tools for daily use in  emotional reguiation.

Psychedelic Journeying

Holotropic Breathwork, in particular, is known for its psychedelic potential – for the ability to offer participants a transformative experience without drugs. It is by no means the only form of breathwork that allows access to non-ordinary states. Different forms of breathwork are ultimately based on different breath patterns – and I personally find Shamanic breathwork to be an amazing psychedelic experience. Some people can access this state during different pranayama exercises, as well. Ultimately, it’s a pesonal journey! And while it’s often an intense natural high, that can often lead to intense emotional release. So it’s not always “fun,” although it’s usually pretty awesome.

Physical Wellness and Medical Issues

Conscious breathing has been used during childbirth since the 1950s through the Lamaze Method. Breath can be an important part of your personal treatment plan for any number of health conditions. (Note: Please talk to your doctor about incorporating breathwork into any treatment plan. Breathwork is not a substitute for proper medical treatment!)