Last updated on September 23rd, 2023.
First off, what is breathwork and where does it even come from?
Breathwork has roots in various ancient spiritual and healing practices from around the world. Many cultures have traditional breath control techniques that have been used for thousands of years for things like meditation, healing, and spiritual growth.
One of the oldest known forms of breathwork is pranayama, a branch of yoga that focuses on controlling the breath. The practice of pranayama is said to have originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago. It is a fundamental aspect of yoga and is believed to help balance the body, mind, and spirit.
Breathing techniques have also been used in spiritual practices such as Buddhism and Taoism. In Buddhism, the practice of mindfulness of breath (anapanasati) is used to develop concentration and mindfulness. In Taoism, the practice of “inner alchemy” or “neidan” involves breathing techniques to cultivate energy and vitality.
In the West, breathwork has been integrated into various therapeutic and healing practices. The first modern breathwork teacher Stanislav Grof, developed Holotropic breathwork in the 1970s, which is a therapeutic approach that uses breath to access states of consciousness and self-exploration.
Overall, breathwork has been utilized for thousands of years in various cultures and traditions for spiritual, healing, and therapeutic purposes.
What is breathwork technique?
Breathwork is a general term that refers to various techniques that involve manipulating one’s breath to achieve a specific physical or mental state. These techniques may include things like deep breathing exercises, pranayama (yogic breathing), and holotropic breathwork. The specific technique used will depend on the individual and the desired outcome. Breathwork can be used for things like stress relief, increased energy, and improved focus and concentration.
5 Common Types of Breathwork Techniques
- Diaphragmatic breathing. This technique involves breathing deeply into the diaphragm, rather than shallowly into the chest. It can help with relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving sleep.
- Box breathing.: This technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and holding the breath again for a count of four. It is often used to improve focus and concentration, and can also help with stress and anxiety.
- 4-7-8 breathing. A similar technique to the box breathing, it involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, exhaling for a count of eight, and repeating. This method is also used to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana). This is a pranayama technique that involves alternately closing and opening one nostril while breathing. It can help balance the nervous system and improve mental clarity.
- Holotropic Breathwork. A technique that involves deep and rapid breathing, usually in conjunction with music or other stimuli, to induce an altered state of consciousness. This can help with self-exploration and personal growth, and can also be used to access memories, emotions and traumas that might be repressed.
These are just a few examples of the many breathwork techniques that are available. Each one has its own unique set of benefits and can be used for different purposes.
Do Navy Seals really use the Box Breathing Technique?
The use of box breathing technique by Navy SEALs is a common belief, it is a technique that is said to be used by the elite military unit to help them stay calm and focused in high-stress situations. Box breathing is used to improve focus and concentration, and can also help with stress and anxiety. The technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and holding the breath again for a count of four.
It is not clear if the Navy SEALs officially use this technique, but it is a common practice among many special operations units and other elite military organizations. The Navy SEALs have a rigorous and intense training program that includes both physical and mental conditioning, and it is likely that they use a variety of techniques to help them stay focused and calm under pressure. The use of breathing techniques is common among different types of meditation and mindfulness practices, and it is known that the Navy SEALs use these type of techniques to improve mental and emotional resilience.
How does Alternate Nostral Breathing Technique Work?
Alternate nostril breathing, also known as Nadi Shodhana, is a yoga breathing technique that is believed to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. The technique involves closing off one nostril and breathing in and out through the other nostril, and then switching to the other nostril. This can be done by using the thumb or finger to close off one nostril while breathing through the other, or by using a device called a pranayama jalandhara bandha, which is a small device that fits over the nose to block one nostril while allowing the other to be open. The technique is said to balance the flow of energy (prana) through the body and promote a sense of balance and equilibrium.
How can I learn more about breathwork?
There are several ways to learn more about breathwork:
- Take a class. Many yoga studios, wellness centers, and health clinics offer breathwork courses or workshops that focus specifically on breathwork. You can also find online classes and workshops.
- Read books or articles. There are many books and articles available that cover different types of breathwork techniques, as well as their benefits and how to practice them.
- Listen to podcasts or watch videos. There are many podcasts and videos available online that cover different aspects of breathwork.
- Find a practitioner. You can find a practitioner who specializes in breathwork and schedule a private session or series of sessions with them.
- Practice on your own. You can also practice different types of breathwork techniques on your own, but it’s important to understand proper technique and breathing patterns before starting.
It’s important to note that breathwork should always be practiced under the guidance of a trained professional, especially if you have a medical condition or are pregnant.