What is Breathwork and How Does it Work?
You may have heard of the term breathwork before or you maybe you've given it a try before. At one point, breathwork was known as an aspect of yoga, but now it's quickly picking up steam and becoming more popular and mainstream. Simply put, breathwork is a breathing practice or technique that can promote physical and mental wellness. It is important to note that there are different styles of breathwork, so don't write off the practice if one style didn't really float your boat.
How It Works
During a breathwork session, you purposefully alter our breathing pattern with the goal of improving your mental, physical, spiritual or emotional well being. It can help to lower stress and anxiety levels, boost the immune system, release negative thoughts and energy, alleviate chronic pain, manage grief and PTSD and so much more. When you become consciously aware of your inhales and exhales you can systematically alter their rhythm and pattern to achieve your desired result.
Types of Breathwork
There are different styles of breathwork and each focuses on different aspects of your well being. Some are done in groups and others are done in private sessions. There is typically a time for reflection following a breathwork session so that you can take the time to digest your session and address anything that came up for you. Oftentimes breathwork sessions are led by a trained and certified practitioner. This is helpful since altering your physical breath and deep seated emotions are typically involved.
Developed in the 1970s, this practice is meant to help with emotional health and personal development. This is typically a group session that is guided by a certified practitioner. You'll go through some controlled rapid breathing and with music and possibly engage in some meditative art or a group discussion after the breathing session.
This type of breathwork is best for clearing out blocked emotions and support emotional healing. Clarity breathwork uses circular breathing. If you're looking for higher energy levels, increased mental focus and healing, clarity breathwork may be a good choice for you. Not only will you have a chance to unpack your session at the end, you will also have a pre-session consultation where you can set your goals and intentions for your session.
Rebirthing breathwork also uses circular breathing and a technique known as Conscious Energy Breathing. Some characteristics of this technique include focusing on unaddressed emotions and digging deeper into conditioned thoughts and behavior patterns. Getting to the heart of some of theses repressed emotions may take a lot out of you and bring out a very strong emotional response, but the purpose is to bring peace, closure, acceptance or integration to repressed emotions and traumas.
When you go for a one-on-one session, you may receive a personalized breathing strategy to help you accomplish your goals. Your practitioner may incorporate healing crystals, sound baths or other healing modalities to help you reach your goals. You are likely to have an interview prior to your breathwork session and once you have completed a session.
Before going into a breathwork session, it is highly advisable that you consult your medical care provider to make sure that you are healthy enough to undergo a session. It is not advisable for those with high blood pressure, severe psychiatric symptoms, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues and other medical conditions or take medications.
Dr. Crystal Jones
If you're interested in a breathwork practitioner, we recommend Dr. Crystal Jones. She is a dynamic anchor and sound therapist who has dedicated herself to the art of healing since 2007. Her mission is to "disrupt the narrative of brokenness with the power of intentional presence." Dr. Jones offers virtual sessions, so it doesn't matter where in the world you are, you can get started with breathwork whenever you're ready.
Be sure to get trusted recommendations as you start your search and to consider your goals and what you feel you are ready for when choosing a style and a practitioner. You want to be comfortable with the style and practitioner you choose. We've only looked at four types of breathwork here, but there are others like Shamanic breathwork and the Wim Hof Method. Look into other styles and ask all of your questions to help you make a decision. And if ever you feel like it's not for you once you've tried it, it's okay to discontinue the practice. As always, honor yourself and your feelings.