If you had told me 5 years ago that if I changed the way I breathed, I could improve my health, I would have laughed at you. And in fact, a doctor did tell me that and I thought he was a little crazy. But he was 100% correct, and I’m thankful that he was one of the people who planted the seed, so when I found breathwork, I was open to trying it.
During my travels to California and Costa Rica, I was exposed to many varieties of breathwork. It was totally unplanned! Breathwork started to come up in conversations with people, and I started to pay attention and grow curious. I had heard of breathwork but didn’t fully understand what it was and how it would help. I found some studios that offered breathwork and I decided I would check it out. But before I did, I attended a health and wellness conference in San Diego that I had bought tickets to months in advance.
And to my surprise, there was a breathwork instructor who led a mini breathwork session using the Wim Hof technique! It was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe how consciously breathing in a certain way could have such an immediate impact on how I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I was eager to try more. I experienced other forms of breathwork like holotropic, transformational, and SOMA.
They all offered incredible, healing experiences, but it was SOMA Breath that I fell in love with. From the very first session I felt light as a feather, liberated, limitless, boundless. My mindset completely shifted to one of positivity and possibility. I felt energized yet calm. And I wanted more.
I was eager to dive deeper into my own personal breathwork journey, so I began a 21-day Awakening Program through SOMA. I developed a daily breathwork practice and began to see the benefits of having a consistent practice. And it was during this experience that I felt the call to become an instructor. I signed up for their instructor training program and learned so much about the science of breath, pranayama, and the benefits of the specific aspects of SOMA.
Now I love teaching and guiding others through a breathwork journey. Whether it’s in a private session or a group class, the experience is always remarkable.
Have you thought about your breath lately? If you’re like most people, then the answer is no. And it’s understandable. It’s one of the functions that happens in the background under the control of our autonomic nervous system, so we don’t have to think about it.
But what if you’re breathing incorrectly? And what if the way you’re breathing is contributing to your stress, anxiety, depression, chronic illness, fatigue, or insomnia? Wouldn’t you want to know, so you can fix it?
Breath is one function that is both involuntary and voluntary. We weren’t given a manual on how to breathe. As a baby you probably breathed correctly, but once you began to live under the influence of stress, your breath likely got hijacked as well. The good news is that we can correct our breath and we do that through breathwork.
“Breathing is the most important thing you do on a daily basis. It is life itself. It is the one faculty that keeps you not only alive but moving and going after all that matters to you most. Surely something as crucial to our existence as this must be more than a passive, mechanical function. And it is: Within the breath is the secret of life itself. It is the secret to changing the state of your thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and vitality. The only problem is that no one has ever taught us how to utilize this power.” - The Power of Vital Force, Rajshree Patel
Slow diaphragmatic rhythmic breathing has been shown to reduce stress not only over the long-term, but almost instantly.
When you slow your breath and extend your exhales, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is your rest, relax, and digest state. Your body and mind switch from survival mode (fight or flight) into a calm state of relaxation. This has a profound effect on reducing stress and anxiety. As you slow your breathing and breathe in a rhythmic pattern, you go into heart coherence. Your breath is no longer erratic. Erratic breathing leads to erratic thoughts and anxiety. Simply by slowing your breath, you are able to lower stress levels, and calm the mind.
Think of your breath as your charging station. It is your main source of vital life force energy. Through breathwork, you are literally able to recharge your mind and body. It's truly more effective than a green juice or coffee!
In the book, Vital Force, the author Rajshree Patel states, "We forget that the breath is literally what brings life into our system. The inhale is what gives us energy; it's what brings in prana...the in-breath brings in life force and distributes it throughout the system, while the out-breath releases what's no longer needed and detoxifies the mind and body...A short time spent breathing reboots the entire system. Then, when you're fully charged, you're so much more vibrant and alive."
As mentioned, extending your exhales activates the parasympathetic nervous system. So a great breathwork practice to use before bed is doubling the length of your exhales. You can breathe in for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4. You may also make the breaths longer and deeper and try inhaling for count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 8. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. I recommend listening to relaxing music or reciting a mantra or affirmation in your mind while engaging in this breathing exercise. On the inhale you can say “I am” and on the exhale you can say “relaxed”. Feel your mind and body relax as you begin to drift off to sleep.
Rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing provides numerous health benefits as it helps to rebalance the nervous system and bring the different functions and rhythms in the body back into harmony. Rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing has the ability to reduce oxidative stress (Martarelli et al., 2011), improve the quality of life in asthma patients (Girodo et al., 1992; Prem et al., 2013), increase heart rate variability, which reduces feelings of depression and insomnia (Lin et al., 2019), and anxiety (Lee et al., 2015), reduces belching and gastrointestinal reflux (Ong et al., 2018), improve symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) thanks to a decrease in the number of breaths an individual takes per minute, an increase in SpO₂ levels, and an increase in lung volume used (Cancelliero-Gaiad et al., 2014; Morrow et al, 2016), directly facilitate lymphatic drainage (Aggithaya et al., 2015), heal Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Mason & Huey, 2017).
Additionally, the other phase of SOMA Breath which is Intermittent Hypoxia (breath retention) has been used to treat a range of disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes, Parkinson’s, emotional disorders, and more. It has anti-aging benefits as it stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration encouraging repair, growth and development of nervous tissue. IHT (intermittent hypoxic training) increases stamina and endurance and supports optimum blood flow. It also provides relief from many chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and sleep disorders.
Breathwork is an effective way to clear negative imprints and emotional traumas from 0-7 years that are stored in the subconscious mind. The different phases of SOMA Breath help you break free from the past, be more present, in flow, and liberated. Rhythmic breathing hyper-oxygenates the body, bringing in more oxygen and blowing out more carbon dioxide than normal. This alters the pH of the bloodstream and creates a stronger electromagnetic field and current to flow through the body, elevating your vibrational and emotional energy. Through a higher vibration and emotional quality, negative emotions can be released and cleansed from the body.
Breath retention allows you to go into the deepest meditative state possible where you can connect with your subconscious mind. Using the power of affirmations, visualization techniques and self-hypnosis you can program your subconscious operating system to influence your autonomic nervous system. Powerful emotional releases can occur, negative imprints from the past can be cleared, and moments of deep insight can occur.
Now that you know the many benefits of a breathwork practice, aren't you ready to try it out?!? But where do you begin?
Lucky for you, I'm here as your breathwork guide and coach. Below are a couple of ways to can begin to learn about and implement breathwork into your healthy lifestyle.
Sacred Breath Community - in this online community, you receive all the tools and support you need to experience the benefits of breathwork. From online breathwork classes, to audio breathwork sessions, and guided breathing techniques, you will begin to reap the rewards immediately.
Private Sessions - If you have a specific area of concern that you want to focus on and want customized sessions and more personal attention, then sign up for a private breathwork session.
Still skeptical? Download my free guided breathwork meditation and try it out for yourself. The key is that you actually have to do it to know that it works!! :)