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Breathe It All In: Why Everyone Is Talking About Breathwork

In recent years, the UK has seen a surge in interest surrounding breathwork, with more and more individuals incorporating it into their wellness routines. From social media buzz to wellness workshops, breathwork is capturing the attention of wellness enthusiasts, mindfulness seekers, and health-conscious individuals alike. What makes this ancient practice relevant today, and why is everyone talking about it?

Breathwork offers numerous benefits, from enhancing mindfulness to promoting physical and emotional well-being. This blog goes deep into the essence of breathwork, its scientific backing, and practical ways to integrate it into your daily life. By the end, you’ll understand why breathwork is more than just a trend—it’s a powerful tool for transforming your mind and body.

What is Breathwork?

Breathwork broadly refers to various techniques that focus on conscious breathing. These practices have roots in ancient traditions but have evolved to fit modern wellness needs. While some forms of breathwork are rooted in yoga and meditation, others have been developed recently to address contemporary challenges.

Several popular breathwork techniques are practised today. Some of the most well-known include:

  • Pranayama: Originating from yoga, this technique involves controlling one’s breath to improve mental clarity and physical health. To practise Pranayama, sit comfortably with a straight spine, close one nostril with your thumb, and inhale deeply through the other nostril. Alternate nostrils and repeat.
  • Holotropic Breathwork: Developed by Stanislav Grof, this method uses accelerated breathing and evocative music to trigger altered states of consciousness. To do Holotropic Breathwork, lie down in a comfortable position, start with deep, rapid breathing, and allow the music to guide your experience.
  • Wim Hof Method: This technique, created by Wim Hof, combines breathing exercises with cold therapy and meditation to enhance physical and mental resilience. For the Wim Hof Method, begin with 30-40 deep breaths, then exhale and hold your breath as long as possible. Follow this with cold exposure, like a cold shower,cold sea dip or ice bath, and conclude with meditation.

Breathwork, The Mindset Consultancy

The Science Behind It

Breathwork influences the body and mind through the autonomic nervous system. By controlling your breath, you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Deep, rhythmic breathing increases oxygen flow, lowers heart rate, and improves overall well-being.

Numerous studies highlight the benefits of breathwork. Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that pranayama significantly reduced stress and improved cognitive function. Another study in Frontiers in Psychology showed that holotropic breathwork could help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When people talk about getting ‘high’ from breathwork, they are often referring to the altered states of consciousness that can occur. During intense breathwork sessions, the brain experiences changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which can lead to a temporary shift in neurochemical balance. This shift can trigger the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that produce feelings of euphoria and heightened awareness, similar to the effects of certain drugs but achieved naturally through controlled breathing techniques.

Benefits of Breathwork

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Benefits

Breathwork offers a myriad of benefits, including:

  • Physical: Boost lung capacity, strengthen immunity, and enhance sleep. Breathe easier with improved oxygen intake, expanded lung capacity, and tension release in chest and shoulders. Ideal for those with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD (chronic lung disease).
  • Mental: Relieve stress, sharpen focus, and spark creativity. Studies reveal breathwork’s power to ease anxiety and depression symptoms, improve concentration, and aid in managing post-traumatic stress.
  • Emotional: Gain stability, uplift mood, and deepen self-awareness. Breathwork balances the nervous system and calms emotional reactivity, facilitating feelings of well-being. It can also help release suppressed emotions and promote self-discovery.

Contribution to Corporate Wellness

In the corporate world, breathwork is becoming a valuable tool for enhancing workplace wellness. Regular breathwork sessions can reduce employee stress, improve concentration, and boost morale, making it a worthwhile investment for any forward-thinking company.

It can very easily be done on a lunch break or even just sat at a desk. Alone or with others, it doesnt matter!

You also don’t need to do anything fancy with your hands and can have your eyes open should your environment call for that. Be sure to inform your colleagues if you intend to do any kind of vigourous breathing so that they don’t think you are hyperventilating ha!

Breathwork, The Mindset Consultancy

Getting Started with Breathwork

If you’re new to breathwork, start with simple techniques like deep belly breathing or box breathing. Set aside a few minutes each day to practise, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.

Personally I had to take it really slowly with breathwork. Having chronic fatigue syndrome means my body is already in a heightened state and stressed, so if I tried to do vigorous breathwork I’d end up more tired than I started and often getting a headache. To combat this a great coach taught me to simply breathe through my nose only, until my body is in a place where I can play around with different  more intense practices. It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you start.

Many resources are available to help you get started. Online platforms, such as YouTube, offer guided breathwork sessions. For a more personalised experience, consider working with certified professionals like those recommended by the British Association for Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA).

To incorporate breathwork into your daily life, try these simple practical tips:

  • Practise deep belly breathing while sitting at your desk or during your commute.
  • Take a few minutes before bed to do a calming breathwork exercise to help you relax and improve sleep quality.
  • Use breathwork techniques during stressful situations, such as in a meeting or before a big presentation.

Remember to listen to your body and find what works best for you. With continued practice, breathwork can become an essential part of your wellness routine, helping you achieve balance and well-being in all aspects of your life.

Breathwork, The Mindset Consultancy

The Future of Breathwork

As awareness of breathwork’s benefits continues to grow, it’s likely to become a staple in mainstream wellness practices. We can expect to see more breathwork workshops, online courses, and corporate wellness programs incorporating breathwork techniques.

Conclusion

Breathwork is more than just a passing trend—it’s a transformative practice with the potential to significantly improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Whether you’re a wellness enthusiast or a corporate professional, integrating breathwork into your routine can offer numerous benefits.

Take the first step towards a calmer, more focused life by exploring breathwork techniques that resonate with you. Share your experiences and join a community of like-minded individuals on this journey to wellness.

For those eager to dive deeper, give experts like Wim Hof or Dr. Belisa Vranich a follow on socials where you can get more insights and advanced practices. Let’s breathe in the benefits together and embrace a healthier, more balanced life.

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About the author

Zoe Grist

With a rich history in the Health and Fitness industry, Zoe excels in her role as a Health Consultant and lead content creator at The Mindset Consultancy. Her extensive educational background, featuring advanced diplomas in Personal Training and Nutrition, coupled with her pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science, equips her with a deep understanding of wellness and health optimisation. Initially starting her career in direct health service roles like gym instruction and personal training, Zoe transitioned into the corporate world, gaining experience as an Office Manager, Personal Assistant, and Project Manager. Her personal struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia has not only elevated her resilience but has also deepened her commitment to incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and physical activity into both her life and professional output. Zoe’s unique blend of personal and professional experience makes her a valuable resource at The Mindset Consultancy, where she is dedicated to inspiring positive health changes through her creative and consultative capacities.

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Zoe Grist – Health Consultant

With a rich history in the Health and Fitness industry, Zoe excels in her role as a Health Consultant and lead content creator at The Mindset Consultancy. Her extensive educational background, featuring advanced diplomas in Personal Training and Nutrition, coupled with her pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science, equips her with a deep understanding of wellness and health optimisation. Initially starting her career in direct health service roles like gym instruction and personal training, Zoe transitioned into the corporate world, gaining experience as an Office Manager, Personal Assistant, and Project Manager. Her personal struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia has not only elevated her resilience but has also deepened her commitment to incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and physical activity into both her life and professional output. Zoe’s unique blend of personal and professional experience makes her a valuable resource at The Mindset Consultancy, where she is dedicated to inspiring positive health changes through her creative and consultative capacities.

Tenzin Josh – BA, BSC, MA, Program Director

Tenzin has spent over 35 years in training, including 15 years as a monk alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is one of the few westerners fortunate enough to have had this incredible privilege; that of studying the traditional Tibetan language monastic curriculum. Tenzin has a wealth of experience in coaching people to train their minds to live life to the full. He has gained a deep knowledge of mental well-being techniques and meditation through years of dedicated study and practice.

Tenzin acquired a BSc in Psychology & Law, from the UK. A BA and Masters in Eastern Spiritual and Philosophical traditions plus most of a Ph.D. in the same. As such Tenzin is uniquely qualified to utilise the best from both of these traditions to teach you how to bring stability and joy to the mind and thus into your life.

Additionally, Tenzin has led and been involved in 100’s of retreats worldwide in more than 10 countries over the last 35 years bringing long-term transformation to people’s lives.

Jessica Kelly – CEO & Corporate Wellness Consultant

Jessica, Founder and CEO of The Mindset Consultancy, boasts a decade of rich experience in IT, Brand Development, and Corporate Wellbeing. Recognising the convergence of these sectors, Jessica leveraged her versatile expertise to establish The Mindset Consultancy (formerly known as Meet Your Mind) in 2019. As a qualified practitioner in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindset Coaching, and Corporate Wellness Consultancy, her holistic approach to wellbeing is incorporated seamlessly into her leadership strategies. Jessica also engages audiences as a podcast host, author, and keynote speaker at various events. Jessica’s international living experience across the UK, Australia, and Thailand has honed her unique insight into harmonising professional and personal life. With a steadfast commitment to fostering a wellbeing-centric culture within corporate landscapes, Jessica advocates for both employers and employees, ensuring mental health is prioritised and businesses continue to thrive and grow.

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