Modern breathwork is the wellness trend du jour. But what is breathwork and why is everyone obsessed with it? With its origins in Pranayama, Sanskrit for “controlling the breath”, breathwork practice is all about manipulating the breath for a desired outcome. Whether you’re trying to sleep, control a panic attack or feel a bit calmer. While breathing exercises sound simple, they can be transformative when performed properly and can even make us feel high.
According to the “Just Breathe!” trend in the 2021 Global Wellness Trends Report: “Breathwork has moved beyond the woo-woo side of wellness to the mainstream, as studies mount that the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health.
With the coronavirus, the world has been collectively focused on our breath, but even when the virus recedes, breathwork will gain momentum – because of innovators that are bringing the art of breathing to large, new audiences and pushing it into whole new territories”.
Table of Contents
What is Breathwork?
“Breathwork is any time that you become aware of your breathing and start to use it to create a physical, mental or emotional benefit for yourself.” – Richie Bostock aka The Breath Guy.
Breathing techniques are tools for major transformation and healing. We each have the power to manipulate our breath for a desired outcome, whether we are trying to sleep, control a panic attack or simply feel a bit calmer.
Breathing may seem like the most solitary thing we do, but this is a trend being led by people. Creative practitioners are using breathwork in many new ways – from fitness and rehabilitation to relief from trauma and PTSD. And it’s a trend that reveals how so much of the medicine in wellness comes from the people-to-people connections, the community and community-building. As Sage Rader, founder of Breath Church puts it: ‘People who breathe together consciously over time begin to share a common bond that transcends words or rational explanation.'”
The benefits of breathwork
Breathwork has benefits for everyone including, but not limited to –
– Reduce stress and anxiety
– Increase energy levels
– Eliminate toxins
– Improve sleep
– Improve creativity
– Induce flow states
– Let go of past traumas
– Increase athletic performance and cardiovascular health
Best Breathwork Teachers To Follow
Jasmine is a trauma and grief-informed breathwork practitioner, speaker and founder of Black Girls Breathing and house of BGB. She founded the initiative because of the profound lack of minorities in the space. Her work has impacted thousands of black women across the globe and is innovating the wellness industry by providing free and accessible mental health care to an overlooked and underserved population.
A man who needs no introduction. The Wim Hof method marries “push the limit” breathing techniques with cold therapy. More wellness destinations are making the Wim Hof Experience a focal point and while it’s not talked about enough, his extreme challenge model is really bringing men into breathwork and wellness.
After being badly injured in a workplace accident, Sage was given a botched neck fusion surgery and then treated to the worst follow-up care imaginable. He spent an entire year in bed on so many pills that he nearly overdosed many times. He didn’t sleep for weeks on end, blew up to 320lbs and stayed in bed for a whole year from January until December of 2014. “I lost my job, then I lost my friends, then my family and finally I lost myself and my mind. I wound up with no hope, no help and no reason to live.” That’s when the extraordinary happened. “I found a doctor who gave me the best care I had never imagined possible. That doctor introduced me to a whole new way of fighting pain. Most importantly, she taught me some simple breathing exercises”.
Sage since has turned his life around and now brings modern breathwork (combining breathing, brain games and music) to the masses. With a rock-star delivery that turns science and spirituality into sheer entertainment, his Breath Church (now virtual) is all about relationship-building.
Richie discovered breathwork when his father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease with no real widely accepted cure and a myriad of different and sometimes difficult drug treatments. He went on a quest to find a way to help him and he discovered the Wim Hof Method. He spent five years travelling across five continents to learn more about how to implement these practices into daily life. Breathwork and Ice cold showers have halted the progress of his Father’s disease. Richie now runs free weekly Breathwork sessions on Instagram throughout each lockdown to help people feel grounded and a sense of calm during chaos and uncertainty. Listen to our podcast with Richie here.
After graduating, Stuart followed a career in finance where he negotiated transactions up to $10 million in a stressful environment. Whilst working Nikkei 225 stock market in 2011, his conscience was affected by the devastating Tsunami that engulfed Japan. Realising how limited one’s time is on earth; he decided to follow his passion for music. After securing a number of record deals, he toured the world as an international DJ until he lost his girlfriend to cancer. At this time, he found solace in a deep conscious breath work practise and that by following a connected pattern of breathing, the stress and anxiety lifted, his energy levels increased and the emotional trauma of grief and hurt faded.
Lisa De Narvaez – Blisspoint
Lisa de Narvaez’s Blisspoint Breathwork method creates clubby soundscapes (with special frequencies) to connect people to their breath, heart and each other.
Liked this article on ‘What Is Breathwork And The 5 Best Teachers To Follow’? Read ‘London’s Best Breathwork Classes‘.
Get your weekly DOSE fix here: SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Who are the best teachers to follow for breathwork?
Some of the best breathwork teachers include Wim Hof, Dan Brulé, Dr. Belisa Vranich, and Max Strom.
What are the benefits of breathwork?
Breathwork can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, increase energy levels, and enhance overall health and well-being.
How often should I practice breathwork?
It is recommended to practice breathwork daily for at least 10-15 minutes to experience its full benefits.
Is breathwork safe for everyone?
While breathwork is generally safe, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new practice, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.