Breathwork expert James Dowlor shared his thoughts on how Breathwork can help us all during this challenging time.
There has never been a more important time to learn how to breathe. The breath - something most of us take for granted and never pay much attention to - has suddenly been thrust into the limelight through the unfortunate circumstance of COVID-19. Now is the time to start connecting to and understanding the power of your breath. Now is the time to start practicing Breathwork.
What is Breathwork?
For me, there are two elements to Breathwork. The first is learning how to breathe, and the second is then learning how to use the breath to shift your physiology and state of mind. In this blog, I’ll talk about how to breathe moment to moment, day to day to make sure we’re as grounded and calm as possible.
The importance of breathing correctly
The quality of your breath provides a perfect mirror to the state of your inner world.
Your brain auto-regulates your breath pattern, which is especially relevant in the uncertain times that we’re living in. When we get stressed, our mind sends a signal to our body that we’re in danger, so our body tenses up and our breath shortens and contracts.
This isn’t necessarily a problem if it happens from time to time, but if we’re continually stressed over a period of time, it can become a habit. The more the body tenses up, the more the breath can tighten and contract, which can result in the breath permanently becoming short, sharp and shallow, and in upper chest rather than the belly.
The problem with this is that just as your brain auto-regulates your breath pattern, the rhythm, rate and depth of your breath is always sending signals to your brain. Which means that even if you’re lying on your bed at the end of day, listening to Einuadi with a candle on, if you’re breath is short, sharp and shallow and in your upper chest, you will never be able to completely relax and unwind.
So how should we breathing?
The perfect breath is what we call diaphragmatic breathing or a full belly breath.
The easiest way to see if you’re breathing optimally is if you place your hands on your lower ribs. If you can feel your lower ribs expand on the inhale and deflate on the exhale then you are engaging your diaphragm to breathe. If you can’t then don’t worry! The breath is the only system in the body that is both automatic and under our control, over time we can start helping the breath move back to functioning and performing optimally.
Moment to moment, day to day, as we move through the next few months, check in on how you’re breathing. Are you using you diaphragm? Are you breathing slowly? Are you breathing gently?
Remember LSD – low, slow and deep. Doing so and breathing in this manner will keep you relaxed and calm.
Next week, I’ll be sharing different ways you can use the breath, and how it can boost immunity. Make sure you head back here to find out more!
Look after yourselves and keep breathing.