Breathwork (breath and breathing exercises and techniques) can unleash powerful forces and healing energies within the mind and body. It can accelerate growth and healing on many levels: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and behavioral. Medical experts agree that breath awareness and breath control can improve your general health, and help in the prevention and treatment of a host of medical problems.
Did you know that the average person reaches peak respiratory capacity in their mid 20’s? And after that, they lose about 1% of their respiratory capacity every year after that! So, unless we are doing something to maintain or improve our breathing capacity, it will decline, and with it our general health, our energy and aliveness, and our spirit too—a reminder not to underestimate the simple, basic, and obvious things in life!
Did you know that the respiratory system is responsible for eliminating 70% of your metabolic waste? (The remainder is eliminated thru defecation (3%), urination (7%), and perspiration (20%). So, if you think that going to the bathroom every day is important, or that working up a good sweat now and then is healthy, then you need to think again about the importance of breathing!
Did you know that most people have unhealthy breathing habits? They hold their breath a lot. They breathe in a shallow irregular way, or they breathe only high in the chest. These patterns are unconsciously adopted or accidentally formed. And some typical or common breathing patterns actually trigger physiological and psychological stress and anxiety reactions!
With breathwork, you can increase relaxation and reduce stress. You can improve digestion, and relieve indigestion and constipation. You can improve circulation and correct irregular heartbeats. You can raise or lower your blood pressure. You can improve your nervous system function (activate, balance or calm the nervous system). Breathwork can be used as a self-aid for: insomnia, panic disorders, migraines, chronic neck and back pain, peptic ulcers, and many other conditions.
Conscious Breathing provides access to the unconscious mind. Breathwork can be used to integrate spirit, mind and body. Breath awareness and conscious breathing has long been associated with spiritual awakening and spiritual development. Over the last 25 years Breathwork has become a key element in almost every cutting edge personal growth program and self-improvement method.
Since ancient times, breathing has been linked to expanding consciousness and reaching enlightenment. People all over the world are using Breathwork for peakperformance in sports, the martial arts, as well as the creative and performing arts. Breath awareness and breath control is practiced by leaders in just about every field to deal more effectively with life’s challenges.
Do you know about the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system? It has two branches: the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is the exciting, activating branch (responsible for the fight or flight response); parasympathetic is responsible for calming and re-balancing. In fact, “autonomic nervous system imbalance” is considered to be the underlying cause of many diseases. Yet, this imbalance can be easily corrected with breathwork!
Breathwork is the key to controlling the autonomic nervous system. It helps us to deal with strong emotions. It is used for behavior modification. Breathing is the only system in the body that is both voluntary and involuntary. In fact, the respiratory system has two different control centers in the brain, with separate sets of breathing nerves and muscles. You can actually use your breathing to make changes in the function of your brain and nervous system. You can actually regulate involuntary processes, and strengthen your immune system through breathing!
Breathwork has been used by tens of thousands of people to permanently lower their blood pressure. It is the most cost effective and timely self-help tool available today. It is certainly the quickest way to clear your head, calm your nerves, settle your stomach, and open your heart.
Breathing keeps you grounded in your body and in present moment reality. The breath is a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind. It opens the channel between those mental compartments. It stimulates exchange between the intellectual and the instinctual, the intuitive and the analytical aspects of the mind.
Breathwork allows you to access deep hidden corners of your psyche, and it brings up into the light of consciousness any negative programming, conditioning, etc. By focusing on your breath, you divert energy and attention from upsetting thoughts and. Breathing can be used to pull energy out of anxiety producing mental activity, dysfunctional self-talk, useless rational chatter, unhealthy habits, etc. In essence, with conscious breathing, one can, on their own, succeed where psychotherapy and pharmacology have failed.
Conscious breathing raises your spiritual awareness. When you turn your attention to the breath, you awaken to your life force, your vital energy, also called spirit. By turning to the breath, you turn toward your spiritual self, that non-physical yet core aspect of your being. Breathwork gives people the ability to flow spiritual energy throughout the body
When you become angry, afraid, or upset, your breath becomes shallow, rapid, noisy, and irregular. In order to become calm again, all you need to do is cause the breath to become deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular! It is that simple! Control your breath and you control yourself. When you change your breathing pattern, you change your chemistry, your physiology, and your biology. When you adjust your breathing, you adjust your state of your mental and emotional state.
A healthy person should be able to breathe quickly (1, 2, or even 3 breaths per second) for at least a few minutes without difficulty. A healthy person should be able to breathe slowly (6, 4, 3, or even 2 breaths per minute) for several minutes without difficulty. A healthy person at rest should be able to allow a pause of at least 30 seconds after the exhale without difficulty. A healthy person should be able to breathe low in the belly, or high in the chest, thru the nose or thru the mouth without difficulty.
Practice this basic breathwork exercise:
Pay attention to your breathing for a few minutes. Just watch, listen and feel your breath come and go by itself.
After a few minutes, begin to deliberately expand or exaggerate your breathing. Try to empty yourself completely of breath on the exhale, and then try to fill yourself beyond capacity on the inhale. Squeeze every drop of breath out of your lungs with the exhale; and then fill every available space in your lungs with the inhale.
After a few cycles of this “exaggerated breathing,” return to the practice of breath awareness. Let the breath come and go by itself while you remain open and relaxed, and alert to the subtle feelings in your body. It is extremely healthy to touch these maximum full and empty points from time to time throughout the day.
For more information on breathwork, visit www.breathmastery.com. Subscribe to the free monthly breath and breathing report, and download your free copy of the e-book: “An Introduction to Breathwork” You are invited to send any comments or questions directly to Dan at: firstname.lastname@example.org