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  • Writer's pictureShama Zeynep Anaydin

Discover the Power of Breathwork

Hi everyone,

Today, I wanted to share insights on one of my favorite modalities of all time: Breathwork. Over the last two decades, breathwork has surged in popularity, becoming a beloved topic among wellness communities. It's something that everyone practices, talks about, and suggests. But what functions for one individual might not necessarily function for another.

One of the most powerful methods for releasing the tension and stress that has built up in our bodies is breathwork. The connection between our conscious and unconscious minds is made possible by the breath. Our breathing patterns can be greatly influenced by our emotional states, and by intentionally altering these patterns, we can access areas of our unconscious mind that contain useful information for us.

Consider a scenario where you feel anger but can't express it, like when dealing with a difficult boss. Typically, we hold our breath and tense our muscles to contain this powerful emotion. Over time, these unexpressed emotions—whether anger, tears, shame, or even joy—accumulate and create chronic tension in our bodies.

Healthy breathing starts from the pelvic floor and extends up to the throat, providing a natural flow that supports the health of our internal organs. This open breath acts as an internal massage, keeping our vital organs healthy. However, in daily life, many people either breathe into their belly but not their chest, or vice versa. These patterns indicate emotional holding in specific parts of the body.

Our bodies relax, our minds become calmer, and we experience a stronger sense of connection to our hearts when we let go of the tension and emotions we have been holding. One excellent method for striking this balance is breathwork. Is it appropriate for everyone, though?

Breathwork can be delivered in many ways. Although traditional belief advocates for deep, cathartic breathwork, this approach might not be suitable for everyone. For some, deep breathwork can even create fragmentation or reinforce the trauma response of freezing. Therefore, it's crucial to have a proper assessment to determine the best type of breathwork for your specific nervous system.

As a breath therapist with over 15 years of experience, I've worked with both groups and individuals. Cathartic breathwork is excellent for those who hold a lot of energy, feel charged or angry, and do not have a history of early trauma. For those with a history of early trauma, it's important to titrate the speed and release of emotions. Going slower and allowing the body to open its breath organically is often more beneficial.

If you have a sensitive nervous system, complex trauma history, or a lack of energy, I highly recommend choosing a trauma-informed breathwork modality. Ensure your therapist is knowledgeable not only in the modality but also in understanding the nervous system. This way, you can safely enjoy the benefits of breathwork without over-stretching your nervous system's capacity.

Remember that there's no one-size-fits-all method. Everybody has different needs and is unique. Knowing yourself well and doing extensive research before using any modality can help you avoid wasting time or adding needless stress to your life.

Additional Tips for Incorporating Breathwork into Your Daily Life

Aside from seeking out professional help and guidance, there are also ways to incorporate breathwork into your daily routine for ongoing benefits. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Start your day with mindful breathing: Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, take a few minutes to lie in bed and focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply, filling up your belly with air and slowly exhaling through the nose. This can help ground and center you before starting your day.

  2. Practice deep breathing during mundane tasks: We often hold our breath or breathe shallowly when doing everyday tasks like washing dishes or driving to work. Use these moments as an opportunity to practice

  3. Exhale for relaxation: When we give a good exhale under stress, it activates our parasympathetic system and brings a greater sense of safety. This system is responsible for the 'rest and digest' responses in our body, helping us to relax and recover from stress. By focusing on a long, slow exhalation, you can signal to your body that it is safe and reduce feelings of anxiety or tension.

Stay tuned for more insights and tips on harnessing the power of breathwork to enhance your well-being. Your journey to a balanced and harmonious life begins with a single, mindful breath.

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