Breathwork Pranayama has also been referred to as Sacred Breathwork, Healing Breathwork, and Transformative Breathwork. It is a simple but powerful tool that helps alkalize the body, relax the nervous system, release stress and trauma held in the body, and induce a deep meditative state in which one can remember and reconnect to their true and highest Self. It is an ancient, rapidly growing healing modality with numerous physical and mental health benefits.
The Breathwork Pranayama journey is deeply healing and soul-nurturing, and is an excellent psychotherapy-adjacent self-help tool. Many people develop a home practice after their first experience in a class, workshop, or individual session. A regular home practice helps to maintain and improve on the gains experienced in the first session. Each Breathwork journey is unique, and there are no two jurneys that are exactly the same.
How does it work? All breathwork is basically manipulation of Oxygen intake and Carbon Dioxide output. It is a 2:1 breathing technique (inhale into the belly, inhale into the chest, and exhale) that changes the balance between Oxygen intake and Carbon Dioxide output and increases the levels of Oxygen in the body. The deep diaphragmatic breathing (or “belly breathing”) stimulates the vagus nerve – which sends a powerful message to the nervous system to relax and turn off the fight/flight mechanism. At the same time, the part of the brain called Default Mode Network (DMN) slows down or goes offline. These are the areas of the brain that are associated with self-referential activities that are associated with rumination, depression, and anxiety . This phenomenon is identical to what was found in brain scans of long-term meditation practitioners and is associated with feelings of tranquility, better cognitive function, and the release from the constraints of the ego.
My personal story:
When I first experienced this technique, I didn’t know what hit me. I have been a well- seasoned mental health professional with more than two decades of meditation, yoga, and Qigong practice under my belt. But never before have I experienced a technique that had such an immediate impact. After my first practice I experienced the relief of physical pain, elevation in mood and energy, and a state of natural “high” that lasted for a few days. As I continued to practice, the symptoms of my autoimmune illness began to improve and I began to experience more energy during the day, and a general sustained state of joy and well-being. I noticed that I began to find ease and peace in situations that used to bother or overwhelm me. I couldn’t wait to become certified to share this magic with my community, because I believe this to be the most powerful tool I have ever encountered not only for self-healing, but also for collective healing. I completed David Elliott's five levels Healer Training, where Breathwork Pranayama was taught to me as a heart opening spiritual practice that is not specific to any particular religion or faith tradition.