How can breathwork relieve stress and improve well-being?

Many of us struggle with day-to-day stress negatively impacting our mental health. While many treatments exist, some have side effects that can be life-altering. Many people shy away from seeking professional help due to stigma, lack of resources, or personal reasons. But, what if there was a simple way to help alleviate some of the stress? Breathwork may be the answer you are looking for. 

What is breathwork?

For centuries, cultures have been practising and reaping the benefits of breathwork. Similar to how yoga and mindfulness have made their way into the mainstream lifestyles of the Western world, breathwork is following closely behind.

Many people have used this practice without even realising they were. Whether breathing through a painful experience or timing your breaths during a workout, you are practising a type of breathwork.

Breathwork offers a natural way to help treat your body from within, using something you are already doing all day anyway – breathing.

It is the intentional manipulation of your breath pattern to achieve a certain goal. Usually, it is used as a tool to help calm down your central nervous system and induce a feeling of calm. It is often used during meditation sessions or when someone is practising mindfulness. However, breathwork can be used as a tool to help you improve your physical and mental well-being in as little as five minutes a day. 

What are the benefits of breathwork?

Using breathwork techniques allows you to take control and helps you create healthy and beneficial habits that can improve your daily life. Here, we’ll explore the mental and physical benefits.

How does breathwork improve mental well-being?

Breathwork is one of the most utilised stress management strategies. This is why doctors tell you to take a deep breath during a painful experience or when you need to calm down.

But channelling our energy into a proper breathwork session produces more benefits than just deep breathing alone. Relaxing breathing techniques have been shown to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, as well as improve cognitive function and memory. Breathwork can also promote restful sleep. 

Using breathing techniques for stress relief offers a natural way to manage symptoms without any negative side effects. 

How can breathwork help improve physical well-being?

Stress and anxiety don’t only affect our mental state, oftentimes these feelings manifest in physical ways. When our bodies spend a large amount of time stuck in fight-or-flight mode, we may experience hormone imbalances, high blood pressure, or lowered immunity. And when our bodies are constantly flooded with stress hormones, we cannot function to our highest abilities. 

Since breathwork helps calm our central nervous system and takes us out of fight-or-flight mode, practising breathing exercises regularly may help lower blood pressure, improve immunity, and help balance hormones. And when we feel better, we do better; it may help to make us more social, alert, outgoing, and calm, while increasing endurance and reducing feelings of pain.

How do you practice breathwork?

After learning the benefits, many people want to begin incorporating breathwork into their lives immediately. Luckily, it is easy to prepare for a session.

When you want to begin breathwork, it is best to wear loose clothing that will allow for full expansion of the abdomen. Today, many people are used to shallow breathing. During breathwork, you will breathe deeply into your lungs causing your stomach to fill and expand. 

Breathwork can be practised sitting in a chair or lying down. Make sure you are seated or lying comfortably and have a glass of water near you. Sometimes, when you first begin to practice breathwork, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. If you experience these feelings, begin to breathe normally and wait until you feel steady before you stand up.

While there are many breathwork videos online, it is best to find a verified breathwork practitioner to help you begin your journey. These professionals are trained to guide you on proper technique as well as answer any questions you may have.

As you dive deeper into your breathwork journey, you may be interested in becoming a breathwork facilitator yourself. Having a career that allows you to help improve the lives and well-being of individuals all over the world can be fulfilling as well as challenging.

In conclusion, breathwork offers a holistic and natural approach to getting our bodies out of fight-or-flight mode by calming our central nervous system. Once we begin to manage stress from the inside out, we are better equipped to handle day-to-day life.

Breathwork can be performed almost anywhere with the proper guidance. Finding a verified breathwork practitioner is vital to reap the most benefits from your practice. You can also become a certified breathwork facilitator yourself as you deepen your practice.

While breathwork makes its way across the Western world, we can all breathe out a collective sigh of healing, hoping that everyone will soon have the knowledge of this life-enhancing practice.

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Written by Niraj Naik
Niraj is the founder of SOMA Breath®. He is a certified UK pharmacist turned holistic wellness, brain-training, and breathwork expert, and one of the world’s most sought-after spiritual ceremony facilitators. To find out more, visit
Written by Niraj Naik
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