Breath is the flow of life, it is the guardian of life and the spark of magic required to animate this sacred physical vessel. Of the things required to maintain the physical body – sleep, food, water, breath – the one we can go the shortest amount of time without is breath. Without breath, there’s no life. Without conscious breath, life becomes unchanging, stale, and ripe with dis-ease.
The practice of breathwork is nothing new. Ancient people have known about the power of the breath for ages. Through consciously working with the breath, we are able to influence every single system in the body. Daily breathwork is essential to vital health and can bring about profound healing and evolution.
What Is Breathwork?
Breathwork involves consciously and intentionally moving the body’s subtle energy with the breath. The breath can become stagnant as our physical bodies hold onto habitual stress postures and unnatural breathing patterns.
Notice how when you’re stressed your breath becomes shallow? Notice how you may feel stressed on some level quite frequently? Notice how those subtle levels of your being (emotional, mental, and spiritual/energetic) may have unprocessed traumas that create a heightened level of stress? See the cycle I’m painting?
Many of us are in a stress loop between our subtle building blocks and our gross, tangible experience. Our bodies take the brunt of this and respond accordingly with various survival mechanisms. Breathwork is a fabulous aid for repatterning these dis-ease causing imprints.
How Does Breathwork Help Me?
Breathwork can restore flow to all systems of the subtle and physical body. It helps us to dislodge trapped emotions, to process stagnant traumas, to liberate the physical body, and more. It can help us to sleep better, feel clearer and with less fog, have better digestion, experience deeper sleep, experience deeper and more profound states of pleasure, feel more present, feel more creative, and so much more.
What Are Breathwork Practices?
Although the term “breathwork” may evoke images of some complex, esoteric practices (they exist, for sure), anything that gets you consciously moving your life force energy is an excellent start. Never underestimate the power of deep belly breathing.
Try this: Empty out completely by drawing navel in and expelling more air than you think is inside of you. Next, draw a slow, deep inhale through the noise. Imagine you’re drawing air down into your pelvic floor and filling up low belly, belly, chest and ribs. Briefly pause at the top and then slowly exhale from top down through the nose.
Some of my favorite breath practices, especially for the sensitive soul to nourish their nervous system, are breath of fire and alternate nostril breathing.
Breathwork is just one of the many tools available in the alchemist’s bag of wonders! Here’s a partial list of some of my favorites:
Breath of Fire
This is an equal inhale and exhale through the nose in short, pant-like breaths. You’ll pump the navel and focus on the exhale. This creates a little vacuum wherein the inhale happens automatically. Come into a rhythmic pattern that feels full of ease. This can be sustained for several minutes and clears away brain fog, balances the blood chemistry, and is better than a cup of coffee for energizing us. Practice daily (mornings are best for this one) working your way up to 10 minutes or more.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This one is amazing for balancing the hemispheres of the brain and balancing hormones. It replenishes our energy reserves and brings more harmony into our being, regardless of whether we’re leaning too far into the hyper or the hypo.
Take your right hand and curl your index and middle fingers towards your palm and let your thumb, ring, and pinkie fingers remain outward. Take your right thumb and place it over your right nostril, blocking it. Inhale deeply and slowly through the left nostril. Pause.
Take your right ring finger and block your left nostril, freeing your right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril. Pause. Inhale through the right nostril. Pause. Free your left nostril and cover the right nostril with your right thumb. Pause.
Exhale through the left nostril. Repeat in this manner for several minutes. This is a perfect evening or late afternoon practice to recalibrate from the day.
Whatever breath practice you choose, aim to breathe with conscious, mindful awareness every single day. Through this simple practice that’s always available to you, you have the keys to mastering your energy, bringing deep restoration to your whole being, and influencing aspects of your life you never thought possible!
I’m Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT and I am Holistic Life Coach + Catalyst + Intuitive + Writer on a mission to identify and transmute the roots of the shame story that’s running your life so you can live your fullest, most authentic incarnation in accordance with your soul’s sacred purpose. If you feel called to work together, please schedule a complimentary, magical Core Wound Alchemy Session.