Breathwork is the new buzz-word in the wellness world, and for many it now conjures up a group of men heavy breathing and jumping into ice baths. But practicing how to breathe well and using different breathing techniques has a long history and list of benefits that go far beyond what many of us could imagine.
If you have done a yoga class before, chances are the instructor has at some point brought up the breath. For thousands of years the art of breathing was a fundamental yoga practice and it was called pranayama. Prana means ‘life-force’ or ‘chi’ and the breath practice allows the yoga student to learn to harness their energy and mood. Almost every breath technique you learn today derives from the Indian tradition.
Changing States of Mind
Did you know that there are different breath practices for any mood you want to create? Want to feel relaxed? Release Trauma? Feel alive? Sexy? Or transcendent? In just a few minutes you can use your breath to get out of a bad mood and into the state of consciousness you want to be in.
Breathing for Anxiety
It’s been recently discovered that many people with anxiety have a kind of ‘short circuit’ in the part of the brain called the amygdalae, which controls both fear and also aspects of how we breathe. Because of this, many of those people unconsciously hold their breath throughout the day- leading to a sense of anxiety that may have no cause, other than biology. Learning to consciously breathe more fully and deeply across the day can reduce feelings of anxiety and activate a calming response in the body.
Nose Breathing vs Mouth Breathing
Due to the modern diet of soft foods, over the last 200 years the structures of the human face have changed, leaving many people with sinus issues that lead to them breathing through their mouth. Long term mouth breathing can cause a whole host of problems in the body from snoring and sleep apnea to disease and chronic sinusitis. When we learn new breath techniques we rewire our brain, clear the sinuses and boost the immune system.
The power and practice of pranayama and breath work has changed the bodies and minds of thousands of practitioners around the world. It can decrease stress, boost immunity and awaken you to the power that’s alive and active within you, all day, every day.
By Sian Pascale from The Light Collective.
Retreat Ritual Instructions:
In this Retreat Ritual, you’ll be doing a 15 minute breathwork class with Sian Pascale from The Light Collective.
In the class, you’ll be taking the time to slow down and learn 3 breath techniques. The first technique will support you in creating a full deep breath- starting to shed stress in the body and find rest.
The second breath allows you to activate sacred feminine energy- a sense of juicy aliveness. The final practice will help you build some energy and vitality.
You are welcome to use this practice as many times as you need, its power builds the more you use it.
Feelings: Feel centred, feel calm.
Time required: 15 minutes
What you’ll need: Your phone/computer and a quiet spot to do your breathwork
- Find somewhere comfortable to sit and practice this breathwork. Make sure there are no distractions so you can get into the zone.
- Access the breath work activity by The Light Collective here.
- Scan the QR code below to access the breathwork exercises.
- Once you’re finished, think about how you can create a more regular practice using breathwork. Could you bring this 15 minute practice into your schedule, even two or three times a week?
Sian Pascale is the founder of the Light Collective, an Online Yoga School focussed on working with the subtle body, Shakti practices and the Tantrik lineage. She is currently based North of Byron Bay in sunny Australia where she teaches the power of pranayama and tantrik yoga to her students and through her Yoga Teacher Trainings and Courses.
You can access The Light Collective’s full Online Yoga Studio of breath and movement practices for one month free using the discount code ‘RetreatYourself’.
Head to their website here.