By Koya Webb
All of us know how to breathe. But – in times of stress, it’s important to tap into techniques like breathwork to help you through tough times. What is breathwork? It’s the practice of intentionally changing your breathing pattern in order to improve your well-being, and according to Scientific American, are proven as safe and easy to use techniques to improve health. And all you need to practice is you!
Even as an experienced yoga teacher and athlete, before I got my breathwork certification I thought I already was familiar with connecting breath to movement: it’s the cornerstone of yoga. But breathwork is a completely different discipline and can help you in five key ways.
It’s hard not to be just a little bit anxious. Parents especially have a lot on their minds. So what to do? According to a 2017 study by Frontiers of Psychology, those who regularly practiced breathwork training sessions were found to have significantly lower levels of cortisol – the hormone produced by our bodies when we’re stressed.
Connecting to yourself via breathwork
For many caregivers, their focus tends to be on the needs of others: their partners, their patients, their students, their children. By giving yourself space to engage in breathing techniques, you can tap into your breath, your needs, and your body. This is essential for self-care.
As I’ve seen in workshops I teach, deep breathing helps people process emotions they have been storing inside. Many people are so busy and focused with their lives that they literally “hold” emotions in their body, such as their hips, shoulders and neck – that’s why many report feeling a stiff neck or a backache after a bad day. By breathing in and out deeply after an intense day, I’ve seen people report clarity around how they feel and why – which is so important for self-understanding.
Overcome unhealthy habits
Do you see yourself starting the day by scrolling your social media feeds? Snacking on that sugary something late at night? Or choosing TV over your daily walk with the family? Breathwork can help us be mindful of our decisions and tap into what actually fulfills us by promoting mindfulness.
Kickstart creativity with breathwork
One of my favorite parts of breathwork for me is that it can help pull me out of a rut. By tapping into my breath, by promoting self-care first, I can feel more clarity around my feelings and thoughts, which I always try to write down in a journal. And that helps me tap into my creative self. It’s a self-care process that’s only a few mindful breaths away.