What Is Breathwork & How Does It Work?

Stop whatever it is you’re doing for a moment and take a deep breath. How do you feel? 


When you breathe deeply, energy shifts throughout your body, releasing emotions, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, and tension from within. It’s a beautiful moment to witness yourself in this release and it’s something that we all have the power to control, embrace, and come back to whenever we need to. How, you ask? Through the magical practice of breathwork.


What Is Breathwork?


Breathwork encompasses various deep breathing techniques, teaching you how to manipulate your breathing rate and depth with the goal of bringing awareness to your breath and to balance the body and mind. It’s an opportunity to connect deeper within yourself, to move energy throughout your body, and to introduce more calm, clarity, and alignment into your everyday life.


The power of breathing has long been revered in many cultures, with evidence of breathwork dating as far back to 2700 B.C.E. in China and 3000 B.C.E. in India. The practices have since been refined for modern use and nowadays, there are a number of techniques which can help you embrace more mindfulness, some ranging from fairly basic and easy to do at home, to others requiring some guidance through the practice.


How Does It Work?


Breathwork techniques take advantage of the connection between your breath and your autonomic nervous system. The deep breathing techniques stimulate the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm), which triggers a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system. 


The sympathetic nervous system commands your fight-or-flight response - when it fires, your heart rate and breathing speed up and stress hormones start pumping through your bloodstream, preparing your body to face a threat. The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, controls your rest, relaxation, and digest response. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers, and your body is guided back into a state of calm and healing.


When you take time to slow down and purposefully breathe deeply and slowly, you tell your brain that everything is OK and your brain communicates to your body that it’s safe to relax. The fight or flight response decreases, and your body can begin to function normally again.


Getting Started With Breathwork


Breathwork has the power to release emotional pain, recharge your creative battery, detox your nervous system, and nourish your soul. Not only does it have the science to back up these benefits, but it's something we can practice anytime, anywhere, whenever we need it. It truly allows you to become your own healer, and you already have everything you need to get started on your journey - your breath! 


If you are interested in getting started with breathwork, I am here for you. Whether you prefer 1-1 coaching, an online program, or an interactive community, I can be with you every step of the way on your journey of self-discovery. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions via info@nicolalaye.com or on Instagram @nicola_laye 


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