“Breath is the link between the mind and body” -Dan Brule
What is Breathwork?
Breathing is something every living creature does to survive! Not only is it an integral part of our existence but deep breathing is something we naturally do when we are in emotional, mental and physical pain. Breathwork is a type of therapy that uses breathing exercises to improve mental, emotional and physical health and uses different methods that aim to heal particular ailments and improve overall concentration and health. This powerful modality and uses modern consciousness research, anthropology, various psychologies, and spiritual practices for self discovery, awareness and enlightenment. Breathwork is a new age approach used in both western and eastern practices. Originating from eastern medicine, it has existed for centuries and was originally used in yoga, Tai Chi, and Buddhism. Breathwork grew in popularity in western regions during the 1960’s-70’s when hippies and other individuals were seeking a spiritual awakening. Since then many forms of breathwork have evolved.
How does it work?
The breathwork process is gentle, simple, safe and uses both verbal and non-verbal tools. Individuals experience deep healing by expressing and releasing emotions and pain. There are several types of breathwork therapy that are facilitated by trained professionals. The most common types are Holotropic Breathwork, Rebirthing Breathwork, Clarity Breathwork and Biodynamic Breathwork. Holotropic Breathwork focuses on creating wholeness of mind, body and spirit through breathing exercises that are done laying down and with music. Rebirthing Breathwork is based on the idea that birth is a traumatic experience and after we are born we carry that trauma with us. This breathwork tries to release stored energy from previous trauma through deep relaxation. Clarity Breathwork is similar to rebirthing breathwork but focuses on all aspects that negatively affect health and believes that we never breathe at our full capacity. Biodynamic Breathwork integrates six elements (breath, movement, sound, touch, emotion and meditation) to release tension, support natural healing, and restructure internal systems. Typically, sessions begin with an individual meeting with a trained professional to discuss the negative sensations they are experiencing and the positive ones that they’d like to experience. Then the coach guides the individual through breathing exercises to reach their health and well-being goals. Afterwards the client and professional will discuss and process the breathwork experience. Self responsibility and self awareness are taught and emphasized heavily so that clients can continue breathwork independently. The individual will at the least leave the session knowing how to breathe more intentionally and deeply.
What are the benefits?
Anyone can benefit from breathwork and can use this modality in various settings like in individual therapy, couples therapy, group therapy and breathwork classes. Breathwork is thought to provide the most benefits to those struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, anger issues, depression, trauma, PTSD, grief and loss, and negative emotions associated with physical ailments. Furthermore, stress can be alleviated through breathwork by tapping into the parasympathetic system and changing the nervous system through deep relaxation. One study found that breathwork and yoga combined significantly reduced depression. And finally the extra oxygen helps create a healthier gut environment by removing toxins through deep breathing.
Where can you do it?
Breathwork can be done just about anywhere! However, it is important that breathwork is done in a safe and conducive environment. For example, you wouldn’t want to practice specific types of breathwork while driving. Oftentimes breathing techniques are taught in settings such as yoga and meditation classes, via electronic apps, in therapeutic settings and in medicinal practices. Specific types of breathwork are facilitated by a professional at their own practice, studio or other mental health practices. You may be able to find breathwork studios near you. Unplug is a meditation, yoga and breathwork studio located in Santa Monica.
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