Calms the nervous system and relaxes the body overall
Helps with reduction of stress, anxiety and depression
Helps to increase lung health
Helps to release muscle tension in the neck and upper body
Increases energy and vitality
Helps with pain management
Is helpful for trauma and PTSD
Enhances focus and cognition
Helps to boost the immune system
Helps with detoxification
Improves oxygen intake and circulation
‘Breathwork’ is a conscious practice of various breathing techniques as exercises with intent, focus and self-awareness. Derived from the yogic teachings of Pranayama (direction of breath) to aid focus during yoga practice and meditation, positive effects on health have been noted, and over years evolved into what is now a recognised ‘Breathwork’ practice as a means of therapy and self-healing.
Breathwork training manipulates breath using varying lengths, patterns and repetitions of inhalations, retention and exhalations. Completing a full cycle of breath involves the belly, chest and back, as well as the mind, which takes surprisingly more concentration than assumed in order to incorporate all the elements into the practice. There are around 50 different forms of breathing techniques, each having a specific purpose and outcome.
Conscious breathing immediately assists the autonomous nervous system to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing down the heart rate, regulating blood pressure and bringing the body into a calm relaxed state, and slowing down any inner emotional turbulence. It helps to stimulate the circulatory system thus increasing the blood flow, enhancing oxygen uptake in the blood cells, and has a direct effect on the Vagus nerve which has a neural connection to every organ and gland in the body, and helps to regulate any inflammation in the body.
The pressures of everyday busy life contribute to a distracted mind and dysfunctional breathing habits due to bad posture, chronic stress, suppressed emotions, physical and mental trauma, and tension. Breathwork can be used as a tool to improve the function of breathing, and as health maintenance in order to cope with any challenges that life might bring. Breathwork is simple, accessible and safe, and is an empowering practice with scientifically proven health benefits on all levels – physiological, mental and emotional.
The connection between breath, mind, and spirit goes back through ancient civilisations practicing different breathing techniques. Some breathing techniques were meant to alter consciousness for various religious, spiritual, and ceremonial purposes, but also used as a healing modality. Evidence of breath-work dates back to 2700 B.C.E. in China, and 3000 B.C.E. in India. Breathwork has therefore played an essential role in ancient cultures and rituals for millennia, sharing many similarities. This includes Pranayama in Yogic practices, and a variety of breath-centred meditations in Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Christianity, Shamanism, and Martial Arts. Among the similarities are their belief in the duality of the concept that breathing is the function of air being taken into the lungs, as well as representing the spiritual life force.
The English word 'spirit' comes from the Latin Spiritus meaning “breath”
The Hebrew and Greek words used for spirit or soul are words that can also mean “breath”
The word Prana translates as “air and breath” also meaning the “sacred essence of life” in Indian philosophy
The word, ‘Ha’, means “breath” in Hawaiian, and is related to the word ‘Mana’, which is the “spiritual force”
In Chinese medicine, the word for breath and the air that we breathe is ‘Chi’. It also means the “universal and cosmic energy of life”.
The word ‘Ki’ is similar in the Japanese tradition, which plays a significant role in martial arts, and many other spiritual practices.
In Greek, the word, ‘pneuma’ translates to “air/breath” but was also used as “spirit” or “life energy”.
The Greeks believed that the breath is connected to the mind and that spirit and mind are both closely related.
In many other languages and dialects, including Andean Quechua, Amazonian Quechua, Tibetan, Aramaic, and others, the word for breath and breathing is the same word that is also used to describe life, spirit, and soul.
The ancient practices have since been refined for modern use and are now supported by evidence-based results for health and vitality on a global scale.