By: Jodi Neering
October 3, 2017
What’s the one thing you can’t live without for more than a couple minutes? No, it’s not your phone. It’s the only constant in your life from birth to death. Know what it is?
It’s your breath. We breathe every second of every day, yet most of us pay no attention to their breath.
In a typical day, how many minutes do you spend consciously aware that you’re breathing? For most people it’s not many. That can have real consequences for your overall health and wellbeing.
It doesn’t take a scientist or a spiritual guru to understand the importance of slowing down and consciously taking a deep breath.
Breathing techniques can lower stress, reduce anxiety and help you sleep better. In fact, just a few deep breaths can slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Breathing exercises have been shown to give you more energy, help the body detoxify, and improve memory.
Certain exercises can even release endorphins that make you feel good and act as natural pain killers.
It’s as easy as a deep inhale and exhale, yet most of us have become accustomed to very shallow breathing. When we’re stressed out, anxious or fearful we even tend to hold our breath entirely. And it gets worse.
Most of us don’t sleep great and wake up tired to a stress filled world. The kids are uncooperative. Someone cuts us off in traffic. No time for coffee, we’re already late to work with a to do list a mile long.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and the day has barely begun! Can you relate?
So where is your breath through all of this? Your poor body is full of carbon dioxide, it’s as if someone has the gas pedal full throttle!
As you begin to become conscious of your breath, you reconnect with your primary life force. Oxygen restores balance to your stress response system, lowering cortisol levels, slowing the heart rate and releasing endorphins that calm you down. The effect is almost immediate.
That’s why it’s surprising to me that most people drastically underestimate the therapeutic power of conscious breathing.
So what exactly is breathwork and why is it regaining mainstream attention in such a big way? I can probably best answer that question by sharing an example.
Mary is a young single mother. When I met her she was working several part time jobs to keep up with the bills. Though she did her best to put on a happy face, in many ways she was regretful of the past and afraid for their future.
No matter how much she did, she felt she was falling short. She told me she often lost her temper. The added pressure of feeling not good enough eventually left her exhausted & depleted.
When she first started practicing a specific breathing exercise, she wasn’t even sure what she was looking for. In about a month Mary was a different woman with a renewed sense of purpose.
She made the decision to follow her passion, left the stability of her menial work and now has a thriving Holistic Practice. The most rewarding part for her is the quality time Mary gets to spend connecting with her kids today.
Breathwork is a safe, effective and relatively immediate outlet for processing emotions like anger, grief, sadness and shame. Some styles are more intensive than others – and different people have different experiences – but here is basically how it works.
As you practice breathing techniques your blood begins to retain more oxygen. The result for most people is a heightened sensory awareness and sharpened intuition. Your cells literally begin to vibrate at a higher frequency. That opens the door to more love and connection in your life.
With the intentional use of the breath, stagnant energy is freed up to move through the system. Pain and anxiety naturally fall away. Limitations and blocks are removed at a cellular level and you are able to create new neural pathways in the brain.
I’ve even seen the reverse of addictive behaviors and unsupportive patterns. That’s probably why substance abuse treatment centers around the country are implementing breathwork to aid in the rehabilitation of their clients.
One of the most remarkable cases I have ever seen was with a young woman named Rebecca.
Rebecca was recovering from severe drug addiction and complex trauma. She could barely put together a thought or sentence when we started working together. I still remember the faraway look in her eyes.
Today, after breathwork therapy, she is unrecognizable! Rebecca went from a lifeless, wounded girl with nothing, to a creative, hard working mother that cares for her teenage daughter in a beautiful apartment. She is a beautiful example of a motivated woman, with a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Breathwork literally changes lives. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can experience it for yourself. All it takes is a few deep breaths.
There are dozens of amazing breathwork practices, exercises and techniques. All have unique benefits and can unlock amazing new possibilities in your life.
Jodi Neering is a Certified Breathwork Practitioner and Reiki Master. She teaches Breathing and Reiki classes at Sagely Willow on select Thursdays.
To learn more about how to practice, and discover how specific breathing techniques can help you, join us for Breathwork & Reiki classes this Thursdays October 5, 2017 at 7pm. For our full schedule of classes and workshops Click Here.