If you’ve been reading along for a while, you’ll know that Kathryn and I are both breathwork nerds. So much so that I undertook a further 300 hours of yoga and breathwork training last year in order to understand and teach it even better.
So I thought it was high time for another blog on the life-changing awesomeness that is breathwork. I always say to our clients, this is the most powerful tool we have for our health and it’s always with us and always free. Unfortunately, breathwork can sometimes be misinterpreted as a spiritual/woo/hippy (whatever you want to call it) practice, and so the more straight-laced among us can be resistant to trying it. If that’s you, it may help to know that SWAT teams in the US use a common breathing technique called box breathing before going into the field in order to be at optimum performance and focus.
Without further ado, here’s 5 benefits of practicing conscious breathing you might not yet know:
Stress relief: This is the one we mostly all know. From as young as we can remember, when we get upset or anxious, we’re told to breathe deeply to help us calm down. When we breathe in and out of the belly (diaphragmatic breathing), this is the fastest way for us to move from our stress response state to our relaxation response state.
Lower blood pressure: For many of us, high blood pressure is a long term health concern and something that can require daily medication. While we don’t recommend going off your meds without talking to your doctor, you can try slow, deep breathing to help naturally lower your blood pressure. At the very least you’re going to feel pretty mellow and happy afterwards!
Improved mental health: It is now well established that meditation and breathwork literally decrease the size of the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with the fight-or-flight response (our stress response), and therefore allows the brain to process more complex things (like emotions!). So it’s not too surprising that consistently practicing breathwork has been shown to improve the mental state of people struggling with depression, which is especially helpful for those who don’t respond well to antidepressants.
Improved focus: We find it extremely cool that our productivity approach is so thoroughly backed by science! Conscious breathing won’t just help you feel better in body and mind, it will also help you think and focus better. Studies found that breathwork regulates the hormones associated with neurological function, helping people focus better and for longer.
Pain reduction: With the issues surrounding long term painkiller usage, it’s a great discovery that breathwork can also work wonders to relieve chronic pain. Deep breathing helps reduce and reprogram the perception of pain, helping people cope better with physical discomfort. Due to the connection between the diaphragm and the spine, breathwork is especially effective at relieving back pain, which is great news for all of us sitting at a desk all day!
That’s all from us for this week! If you love what we do and you want everyone you work with to benefit from it, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help your team thrive!