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Is a powerful way to access your body’s innate intelligence to heal itself. Breathwork, the conscious awareness of your breath, is a practice that is thousands of years old, and while there are many variations, styles and names, all types of breathwork offer the chance for personal transformation through improved mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Our breath, or prana, is literally what keeps us alive, and yet, so often, we go through the day chronically shallow breathing, denying ourselves our full life force which often keeping us in a state of anxiety, or fight or flight. Breathwork, or the process of deep rhythmic breathing, moves us out of fight or flight and into the parasympathetic nervous system. It is said that how we breathe is how we live, and so to live life to its fullest, we believe we should breathe to our fullest. And that’s where a breathwork practice comes in. Because breathwork literally raises our energy (our frequency) it’s one of the key therapeutic modalities we utilize at onelighthealing as part of my Emotional Fitness Architecture to create emotional well-being and emotional resilience. Breathwork bridges ancient wisdom with modern science to help you unlock our full potential. Come breathe with us at Frequency and begin to experience firsthand the healing power of the breath.
1. REDUCES STRESS, ANXIETY AND GRIEF, DEPRESSION AND ANGER
In today’s modern world, there are few of us who haven’t struggled with anxiety or depression. Breathwork offers a very safe way to address stress, anxiety, grief, depression and anger head on so that our moods don’t start to take over our personal and professional lives. How we breathe often indicates how we feel. In the way shallow rapid breaths make us anxious and tired, long deep breaths that originate in the abdomen can help us feel calm, centered, grounded and energized. The reason for this is because deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which takes us out of fight or flight (the sympathetic nervous system). By activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, you’re creating a deep feeling of calm and reducing your overall stress and anxiety. So we now know that breath positively affects the nervous system but it actually goes beyond the nervous system. Changing your breath literally changes your brainwaves! Neuroscientists have made a direct correlation between an increase of alpha brain waves and reduced symptoms of depression. There are five types of brainwaves that we move through during a given day. Breathwork is an effective way to shift your brainwaves from beta to alpha and even theta, thereby decreasing negative thought patterns, stress and depression levels.
Gamma Waves: Heightened perception and consciousness
Beta Waves: Most of us are spend our walking days in beta, where we’re attentive, thinking, making decisions, problem solving . But in beta we can also feel agitated, stressed, tense, hyper alert, afraid or obsessive.
Alpha Waves: This is when we are relaxed, reflective and aware and in the present moment.
Theta Waves: This is an even more relaxed state where we are open, intuitive, and receptive and can have deep insights or aha movements beyond our normal conscious awareness. This can occur in breathwork, deep meditation or in sleep.
Delta Waves: Our slowest brain waves which occur mostly in deep dreamless sleep where we lose awareness of our body
2. INCREASE YOUR ENERGY LEVELS AND BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Breathwork improves oxygen capacity in the blood which leads to overall improved energy levels and stronger stamina. The amount of oxygen that we inhale through our breathing directly influences the amount of energy that is released into our cells. The body can use this extra energy to boost your immunity or give you needed energy if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep or are having a day fraught with worry or anxiety (which also drain your energy). It also affords you the ability to push your physical workout to a new level because you’re flooding your body with oxygen. With a daily breathwork practice you can begin to learn to consciously control your energy levels and your immune system.
3. INCREASE SELF-AWARENESS, PRESENCE, HAPPINESS AND JOY
In breathwork, we’re breathing through our mouth, which creates Breathwork creates an experience of deep presence and self-awareness by giving yourself the space to go within, where time almost ceases to exist. In this expanded space and state, our brainwaves have a chance to slow down from the thinking and doing state of Beta and Alpha to a more dreamlike state of being, the Theta brainwave. In this state of being in the present moment, in the now, no longer bound by the past or the future, people often describe feelings of happiness and joy wash over them, as they experiences a shift in consciousness.
4. INCREASE SELF-LOVE
So many of us struggle to fully love ourselves. We often get stuck in our head with feelings of unworthiness or not being enough. What breathwork does so beautifully and effortlessly is allow us shift out of our mind and intellect and into our body, by switching from nostril breathing to mouth breathing. And while increased self-love is hard to measure scientifically, it is one of the most direct felt experiences of breathwork. When your body is vibrating during breathwork and you are fully in the experience, it is hard not to feel that deeper connection with yourself. And simply by fostering a deeper relationship with yourself, you are beginning the process of self-love.
5. IMPROVE SLEEP
Between our phone and social media overuse, the coffee we drink and the sugar in our food (all of which act as stimulants), as well as the low grade stress and anxiety we carry with us each day, there are many stimulating factors negatively impacting our sleep. Thankfully, the deep breathing we practice in breathwork helps to calm the nervous system, which in turn reduces the effects of stimulants and calms the stress, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep. Additionally, quieting the mind, which breathwork does so well, allows you to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
6. RELEASE TRAUMA AND FEAR STUCK IN THE BODY
Unprocessed negative emotions, fear and trauma can get trapped and stored in the body and become energetic blocks that often take a physical toll on the body. Talk therapy often helps us to identify these fears and traumas, but isn’t always able to dislodge them from the body. These traumas and blocks can stay in the body since childhood and hold us back from leading the life we want to live. Breathwork is an incredibly powerful tool to help unblock, unravel and release fear, traumas, limiting beliefs and negative emotions.
7. HELP REDUCE PAIN
If you have chronic pain, you likely have tried to distance yourself from your body in an effort to ignore your pain. But by distancing yourself from your body, you’re actually distancing yourself from your body’s innate ability to heal itself. What breathwork does so effortlessly is to reconnect you with your body, which actually helps you jumpstart the healing process. Additionally breathing deeply causes the body to release endorphins, which reduces sensitivity to pain and boosts pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. It also helps reduce pain because deep breathing changes the acidity level of the body, making it more alkaline. Breathwork also reduces cortisol, which reduces stress, which reduces the feeling of pain. Deep belly breathing has a very therapeutic effect on chronic pain because it relaxes the muscles which otherwise tense up as a result of pain and in turn further aggravate the pain itself.
8. RELEASE TOXINS FROM THE BODY
Deep breathing helps detoxify your body, boosts your lung efficiency and promotes a healthy heart. Over 50% of the toxins your body stores are meant to expelled through breathing. The main toxin that’s being expelled through the breath is carbon dioxide. Through the practice of deep rhythmic breathing you’re expanding your diaphragm which relaxes the body and massages your lymphatic system which helps the elimination of toxins. You are also strengthening your lungs, which directly affects your toxin release. Additionally, by breathing deeply more often, you’re able to expel the toxins more effectively. This allows the cells to take in more oxygen-rich blood. Lastly, because breathwork improves your oxygen capacity, it means your physical workout routine will benefit, which also helps to expel toxins. Deep breathing also assists the circulatory system, improving blood circulation, another major channel of elimination and detoxification
9. IMPROVE DIGESTION
Breathwork can help the digestive process by stimulating and increasing blood flow throughout the digestive track and also improving intestinal activity. Breathwork also reduces the uncomfortable symptoms of bloating and gas. Additionally, breathwork creates a positive feedback loop by reducing stress, which reduces cortisol, which reduces gut inflammation. Lastly, on an emotional level, because you’re reducing your overall stress and anxiety levels when you practice breathwork, you set yourself up to make better food choices, and thus are less likely to overeat and/or eat the wrong foods that trigger digestion issues in the first place!
10. EXPLORE ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS, CONSCIOUSLY
Breathwork creates a powerful space for self-exploration, spiritual awakening and a deeper connection to yourself, others and the universe. Like plant medicine, a breathwork experience can even be psychedelic, and can help you connect to your spirit (otherwise known as your higher self or source) in a completely safe and legal way. It is not uncommon to experience a deep sense of oneness, bliss, a connection with the divine and a feeling of deep safety and surrender. Breathwork also impacts the way our consciousness and subconscious minds interact, allowing our creativity to be accessed in new and deeper ways, providing greater insights and inspiration which give us more direct access to the present movement from which we can create a new reality. - frequencymind-
Here are some benefits of intermittent hypoxia using pranayama: Hypoxia has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels It can induce an enzyme referred to as “nitric oxide” which has various roles in tissues. It is a defense mechanism against oxidative damage. The more nitric oxide we have, the more protection of our tissues Hypoxia has been shown to increase the resistance of tissues to various insults and injuries, including radiation injuries and ageing It can induce what is referred to as the “Guardian of the genome.” which has a protective role in DNA damage As a caution, it is important that if you suffer from any respiratory issues please consult your doctor before practicing any pranayama breathwork techniques. Instead, you can try yoga and pranayama for asthma relief.
When it comes to yoga and focusing on the breath, one cannot exist without the other. Yoga is designed to use the breath in various ways and for specific purposes. It makes sense that yoga can lend a hand to those that struggle with asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung condition of the airways. A person with asthma has a sensitive airway that becomes inflamed when exposed to triggers. For example, an environmental trigger or smoke. This makes breathing difficult and brings on coughing, wheezing, and even shortness of breath. Understandably, asthma sufferers are also prone to anxiety, stress, and even asthma attacks from such symptoms. The severity of the condition varies from person to person there are ways to manage the symptoms.
Read on to find how yoga and pranayama can bring relief to asthma sufferers!
In simple terms, your nervous system is your body’s very own “command center.” The nervous system interprets stimuli from the world and then sends commands to specific parts of the body to respond to that stimuli.
The nervous system is made up of two parts. There is the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system is made up of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems.
The somatic nervous system guides your voluntary movements and the autonomic nervous system controls your involuntary activities such as digestion and your heartbeat.
The autonomic nervous system has two branches:
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
When we sense a stressor, such as we see a dangerous animal, our sympathetic nervous system is activated and we have a “fight, flight or freeze '' response. Your heartbeat quickens pumping more blood to muscles, and survival bodily systems are prioritized. To make it clearer, if there is a perceived threat, digestive and reproductive system activities are not prioritized for survival but the cardiovascular system activities are. After all, in a flight response, you need to run away which requires the cardiovascular system. The sympathetic nervous system response helps us survive and actions are geared toward escaping possible danger. When the perceived threat has passed, then our PNS comes into play. Your heartbeat slows down, muscles can now relax, blood flow can increase to all bodily systems; you are in a “rest and digest '' state. Both parts of the autonomic nervous system are important and have their respective specific purpose. However, these days stressors can be a traffic jam before work, your boss yelling at you, deadlines, or strained familial relationships. These perceived threats can activate our sympathetic nervous system and keep us in a stressed state. Over a period of time, this chronic stress can have a serious negative impact on your health and well-being. Let’s look at the part of the nervous system that yoga can have a positive impact on. If you have surmised that it’s the parasympathetic nervous system, you are right!
Meditation and breathwork can help us move into the parasympathetic nervous system so that the body can repair itself and the mind can rest after being exposed and having responded to stressors. Meditation breathing and the respiratory system Proper oxygenation of your cells is another important aspect of good health. Cells need oxygen to generate energy. To get enough oxygen to your cells, you must improve the blood’s absorption of oxygen. Research has shown that deep breathing into the lower part of the lungs increases this oxygen absorption. This in turn is beneficial because, even with fewer inhalations per minute, the blood receives more oxygen. The blood then is able to better supply oxygen to all tissues of your body. A study on yoga practitioners showed that they adapted better to lower oxygen levels due to high altitude than did the control group, which did not practice yoga. The deep and conscious breathing that is typical in yoga seems to aid efficient ventilation: the amount of oxygen reaching the heart per minute. The respiratory system is quite incredible. It is made up of organs and tissue functionally structured and designed for the fundamental live-giving activity of breathing. This system brings oxygen into our bodies and sends carbon dioxide out.
There are three major parts of the respiratory system: The airway (made up of the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles) The lungs The muscles of respiration (intercostal muscles, diaphragm) Through the respiratory system, our body receives oxygen-rich air so that cells can function optimally. The air enters the mouth and nose and then moves down the trachea into the lungs. The diaphragm is actually a muscle we use to inhale (breathe in) and exhale (breathe out). It is located just below the lungs.
Maybe you have heard of diaphragmatic breathing or the yoga breathing technique called “belly breathing.” There are yoga breathing techniques known as pranayama. When performed consistently and correctly, pranayama has many benefits for the body and mind. In an interesting study, just an 8-week yoga intervention that targeted healthy yet inactive middle-aged people found that there was an overall improvement in respiratory and physical functions. The inclusion of pranayama had the added benefit of improving inspiratory muscle strength and flexibility. Consistent and safe yoga and breathing practice increases blood flow and levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells which allows for more oxygen to reach the body cells, enhancing their function. Twisting poses wring out venous blood from internal organs allowing oxygenated blood to flow in when the twist is released. Inverted poses encourage venous blood flow from the legs and pelvis back to the heart and then pumped through the lungs where it becomes freshly oxygenated. pranayama allows for fuller deeper breathing and an increased level of oxygen in the blood which contributes to better health. Yoga and breathwork to reduce asthma symptoms Yoga breathing techniques for asthma A consistent and safe practice of yoga asanas and yoga breathing methods can help alleviate asthma symptoms. This can have a positive impact on the daily lives of asthma sufferers. Common in asthma sufferers is the stress and anxiety that result from symptoms.
Sometimes, asthma sufferers may even experience hyperventilation during an asthma attack. Practicing yoga breathing techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve can help induce calm after an asthma attack. The vagus nerve is the major component of the parasympathetic nervous system. It oversees a list of integral bodily functions such as immune responses, digestive processes, and heart rate. When you stimulate the vagus nerve via calming yoga breathing methods, you send a message that you are safe and ready for relaxation. This is especially helpful if an asthma sufferer starts experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath. Slow belly breathing can have calm-inducing benefits as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. By activating the PNS, you increase your vagal tone. Your vagal tone determines the timing in which your body takes to relax after a stress response. Your vagal tone can be improved through the practice of safe and appropriate pranayama.
The power of linking breath to movement In yoga, the intentional practice of linking breath to movement acts as a tool to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Using the breath, with purpose and knowledge of how to do so safely, allows us to slow down the breath and use it to get into a rhythm of movement. Our heartbeat slows down and we can bring ourselves back to the present time. In the present time, we can signal to the body that there is no perceived threat and this can dissipate the stress response which means that stress hormones like cortisol entering the bloodstream are stopped.