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BREATHWORK

8 Benefits of Breathwork for Body and Mind

June 14, 2024
8 Benefits of Breathwork for Body and Mind

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Discover the Benefits of Breathwork and How To Make It a Regular Practice


In various ways, every living thing on Earth needs to breathe. We rely on breathing for survival, but did you know how you breathe can also impact how you think, feel, and connect with yourself?

Consider how you breathe when you feel different emotions. When you are relaxed, your breathing may be slow and deep. When you are upset, your breathing may be short and shallow. By using breathwork, you can influence how you feel and think immediately.

However, the benefits of breathwork aren’t limited to mental and emotional processes. Practicing mindfulness through breathwork may also influence our physical and spiritual well-being.

This article explores the various benefits of breathwork, who might benefit from breathwork, and how you can enhance your mind-body practices through the art of breathing.

Table of Contents

8 Potential Benefits of Breathwork

Breathwork can positively impact overall wellness's mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects.

Breathing is one of the most necessary biological functions. When you practice breathwork as a wellness exercise, you enhance a normal function to feel refreshed and energized.

Breathwork is easy to practice, can be done anywhere, and is beneficial for anyone at any age and in any condition. Since breathwork exercises the musculature involved in breathing, the more you practice, the stronger and more natural your breathing will be.

The benefits of breathwork may be immediate, such as taking in a few deep breaths to relieve stress, or they could be long-term. You can use breathwork as a mindful wellness practice by itself or couple it with other mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation.

Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi is on a mission to help people live healthier and happier lives. Through our holistic fitness classes, you can experience a blend of wellness practices such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and breathwork to improve your mind-body connection and feel healthier and happier each day.

Get started on the road to wellness with a 50-minute introductory session today.

#1: Strengthens Lungs

For strong and healthy lungs, breathing is a breeze.

When you breathe in, your diaphragm does of the work, filling your lungs with oxygen during inhalation and exhausting waste gas during exhalation.

Consider your lungs like a spring door, opening to let air in and closing to push air out. Over time, our lungs can lose their springiness. Stale air can build up, leaving less room for the diaphragm to expand and contract. If the diaphragm cannot work fully, the body uses other muscles (like the neck, back, and chest) for breathing.

By practicing breathwork, you may be able to strengthen your lungs and diaphragm.

shows that daily 15-minute breathing training for just two weeks may significantly increase the volume of used air you exhale in one second so you can take deeper and stronger breaths.

#2: Improves Focus

Our brains rely on oxygenated blood to function. Taking deep breaths allows more oxygen to enter the bloodstream and can help increase mental awareness.

For example, one examined the effects of yoga breathing on attention and anxiety in pre-teen children. The study divided 61 children into three groups, with two groups practicing different styles of yoga breathing exercises and the third group not practicing yoga breathing (the control group). The children practicing either of the two different breathing exercises showed measurably increased attention and focus compared to the control group.

#3: Increases Energy

and increases oxygen to the brain and vital tissues, allowing the brain and organs to function optimally. If you’re feeling sluggish at any point throughout the day, take 10 minutes to practice breathwork for a boost of energy.

#4: Promotes Better Sleep

Practicing slow, deep breaths before bed may help initiate a relaxation response to help you fall asleep faster.

Slow, deep can activate the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. Parasympathetic responses control homeostasis, digestion, healing, and rest. Digestion and rest are the automatic physical reactions that happen when your body and mind feel calm and safe.

The has recognized breathwork as a tool to help regain composure and reduce stress. Reportedly, practicing slow, deep breathing exercises over time may help correct sympathetic (“fight or flight”) overarousal, which may be responsible for stress-related insomnia.

Slow, deep breathing has also been found to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep regulation.

#5: Supports Immune System

suggests that breathwork practices such as resistive breathing, a strength training technique involving a device that creates resistance as the user inhales and exhales, may help increase inflammatory responses responsible for fighting off foreign pathogens.

Breathwork may also help lung defenses against viruses. A 2014 split 24 participants into two groups. One group participated in a cyclical breathwork technique followed by a cold plunge. The other group did not participate and was used as the control. Both groups were then exposed to a toxin that caused flu-like symptoms.

As a result, the group that performed the breathwork technique experienced significantly fewer symptoms than their control group counterparts.

#6: Enhances Digestion

Did you know that the benefits of breathwork may also help you digest food better?

has found that some deep breathing exercises may help improve digestive functions by increasing enzyme action and helping the body clear out metabolic waste.

#7: Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Studies show that affects several areas of the brain, including those linked to emotion.

Agitation, stress, irritation, and other negative emotions may affect your breathing.

Stress causes the body to produce shallow, short, quick breaths that increase heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, the body produces stress hormones, and lactic acid builds up in the muscles, causing tension.

Focusing on your breathing when you are stressed can help you:
  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Relax tense muscles
  • Disengage from distracting thoughts and sensations

Psychiatric research and clinical practices have that breathwork may have a profound impact and diagnostic improvement of symptoms caused by anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, obsessions, compulsions, and inattention.

Certain breathing techniques may be especially effective at reducing stress.

These breathing techniques include:
  • Controlled breathing
  • Slowed breathing; and
  • Diaphragmatic breathing

#8: Builds Emotional Resilience

Breathwork is a useful tool that may improve your emotional state when feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. If you regularly practice breathwork, you may find yourself automatically using breathing techniques to boost your mood in the face of adversity.

One longitudinal found that breathwork helped U.S. veterans improve their management of PTSD symptoms.

Who Can Benefit from Breathwork?

Anyone can benefit from breathwork. We all need to take a minute to breathe once in a while. Why not use that time to breathe intentionally?

Some groups may especially benefit from practicing breathwork, such as people who:
  • Are older
  • Work in high-stress environments
  • Experience mental stress
  • Tend to hold physical tension or feel strong emotions

Timing for Breathwork: How Often Should You Do It and For How Long?

Though the benefits of breathwork may be immediate, routine breathwork practice can help you strengthen your breathwork ability and access long-term benefits.

You can start your breathwork routine by practicing for ten minutes one to three times a week and then increasing the frequency daily. If you want to use breathwork to begin your day fully energized, you can practice in the morning. If you want to use breathwork to improve your sleep, you might do it before bed. You could practice breathwork after lunch to help you digest and check in with yourself before moving on with the rest of your day.

Some people have breathing routines that involve practicing breathing exercises more than once a day. Breathwork is best used when needed.

Breathwork is the foundation of mind-body practices. It affects every aspect of our well-being. The ability to control your breath and use it to accumulate and clear your energies is a vital tool for wellness and well-being.

Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi instructors can help you unlock the potential of mindfulness practices like breathwork. Our unique system of breathing postures can help increase the transformative power and depth of your mind-body practices.

Enhance Your Mind-Body Practice and Experience the Benefits of Breathwork With Classes at Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi

Are you looking to get the most out of your breathwork? Brain & Body Yoga and Tai Chi has over 20 years of experience helping individuals access the limitless benefit of breathwork.

With locations worldwide, we can help you devise a breathwork routine and improve your technique. Can’t find a class near you? We have online classes any day of the week.

If you’re looking for a deeper exploration of connectedness and self-healing, you might consider these two retreats located among the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona:

  • During the 5-day on-site , you will learn how to use the ancient “Water Up, Fire Down” practice to activate and balance the energy of your mind, body, and spirit.
  • At the 4-day on-site True Self Awakening Retreat, you can explore the essence of who you truly are while using mindfulness practices to help you break free from your limitations.

We welcome you to join a community of like-minded individuals embarking on a journey of connection and self-discovery.

Breathe vital life energy into your routine with breathwork techniques at a Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi center near you.