Your breath is the most powerful ally you didn’t know you had. Often overlooked, breathwork training can not only improve your performance and cardiovascular health but also allow you to reach a higher state of bliss and release decades-old trauma and chronic pain.
In this blog post, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the practice, see the science behind it, and learn how to get started.
If you’re already familiar with breathwork and would like to start your journey with expert guidance in our safe community, join Betty Breathwork here.
What is breathwork?
Breathwork is the simple pattern of inhaling and exhaling in a way that controls your dioxide to oxygen ratio to elicit a desired emotion.
It can alter your state of consciousness naturally and bring about organic euphoria.
So, if our breath is so powerful, why aren’t we walking this earth bouncing up and down with joy all the time?
Unfortunately, most of us are breathing all wrong.
“We breathe in a fight or flight pattern,” Jenn Mansell, expert breathwork facilitator explains.
As babies, we used to take big, strong belly breaths. But layers of stress during our lives have conditioned us to be shallow, chest breathers not using our full lung capacity.
What’s worse, over time most of us will become mouth breathers. We let chronic stress pile up and block us in unexpected places, both physically and mentally.
But we don’t have to be stuck forever.
Breathwork healing releases stored tension in your body
Chronic tension leads to chronic pain. Some symptoms can manifest as fibromyalgia, fatigue, and brain fog.
Through a correct breathwork technique, you can melt off layers of stress accumulated over decades. That includes anger, hurt, sadness - the whole spectrum of emotional patterns.
Often, during a first breathwork session, someone may go as deep as releasing grief and reconnecting with the essence of a loved one, experiencing a powerful spiritual sensation.
Your breath is a powerful vehicle to express emotions.
And if you’ve been suppressing your feelings for as long as you can remember, you’re not alone. Most of us have grown up in environments where holding in emotions has been the unspoken norm, Jenn says.
Healing your anxiety through breathwork
Healing breathwork is all about release. And the beautiful thing about it is that it’s free - you just need to breathe.
With that said, you need to understand how to do the technique properly first.
A breathwork session may leave you sobbing and shaking. Or it may reign supreme peace over your mind, joy coursing through your body, and make your entire being smile from the inside out.
Your breathwork practice will give you exactly what you need at that moment when led by a seasoned breathwork facilitator.
Find out more about stress release through breathwork in my podcast episode with Jenn Mansell here.
What does a breathwork session look like?
A breathwork session typically lasts about 60 minutes where the practice itself takes 45 minutes and the rest of the time is used to ease in and out of it.
First, you’ll set an intention for your practice - that could be to gain clarity, relax your body, or forgive.
Then, you’ll lie down comfortably (usually using pillows and an eye mask). From there, you’ll be grounded into a meditation accompanied by music.
The first 8-12 minutes are all about getting used to the conscious, controlled breath and allowing your body and mind to adjust and overcome the initial resistance.
Don’t be surprised if your mind starts asking things like, “When’s something gonna happen? Why am I doing this?” That’s all normal.
In the second phase of your breathwork session (about 20 minutes), you’ll enter a stage of exploration.
You’ll feel emotions moving through your body, perhaps tension rising to the surface then leaving.
The final part is all about integration.
Your breath will slow down and you’ll enter a parasympathetic state. You’ll find yourself in a place of being, beyond your thought and to-do list.
Yes, your mind will feel like a blank slate.
Finally, you’ll come out of the session and journal about it if you like.
Expect to feel grounded, calm, and relieved. If you experience shaking during or lingering after the session, don’t be alarmed - this is simply your body letting go for the first time.
The science of breathwork - what’s happening in your body?
Essentially, you’re undergoing controlled hyperventilation where the oxygen builds up and the carbon dioxide gets depleted.
But wait, don’t freak out - if done in the right environment with a facilitator, this is not at all dangerous to you.
You begin to release different neuropeptides and endorphins because your blood becomes more alkaline.
This signals to your brain to begin releasing endorphins into the cerebral spinal fluid. And then something beautiful happens - you begin releasing pain.
Because you’ve taken so much oxygen in, your body is not in survival mode anymore. It’s optimized.
So the part of your mind that’s been stuck in a scarcity mindset goes offline. (oh, sweet silence!)
Your blood flow increases and you feel a surge of energy.
And your mind shifts to an expansive state where both sides of your brain are active at the same time.
Wait, will breathwork give me a psychedelic experience?
That’s very likely.
See, the effects of breathwork are very similar to the altered, blissful states that psychedelics produce.
Except this is all-natural and in no way harmful to you.
During a breathwork session, your brain starts making new connections that it couldn’t before.
And you may have a couple of huge epiphanies, like “wow, I realize that I’m fighting with my partner because I resent my dad.”
You may experience visuals and go deep into profound realizations about yourself, your personality, and the way you do things.
The best part is that you will remember it all after your session is over.
So you see, breathwork really is a tool for self-discovery.
How often should I do breathwork?
One 45-minute session once a week is enough, to begin with.
Where to start your breathwork journey
I’m here to help you take the first step on your breathwork journey.
And here’s the exciting news - Betty Breathwork starts this November!
What you’ll get:
- 1 LIVE weekly session every Thursday for the whole month of November
- Replays of the sessions in case you’re not able to make it to the live stream
- Lifetime access to the material
- Your very own coach, Jenn Mansell
- Plenty of support as we unlock and heal traumas and release stress
- Workbooks and journal prompts
We’re bringing in an expert to guide you through a healing, nourishing practice once a week, from home.
To find out all the details and secure your spot, click here.
Think about it - what would your life look like if you freed yourself from the heavy layers of trauma you’ve been carrying around all these years? This 4-week program could very well be the first step to the rest of your life.
And explore our supportive community of self-actualized, ambitious women here.