The human body can be without food, water and sleep for longer periods of time, but if theres anything we can not be without its air and our breath and despite this fact, we have totally neglected this fundamental feat of our physical system.
While some people have dedicated time and effort to dramatically improve their ability to hold their breath for up to as long as 24 minutes, such as free divers, this is not generally practiced among the general population. Breathing is performed autonomous and for the most part completely taken for granted.
Breathing is the process of moving air into and out of the lungs to facilitate gas exchange with the internal environment, by bringing in oxygen and flushing out carbon dioxide. All aerobic creatures need oxygen for cellular respiration, which uses the oxygen to break down foods for energy and produces carbon dioxide as a waste product. In other words, this is how you actually lose weight.
Most people are today suffering from stress and dysfunctional breathing by keeping it shallow and in the chest area, which stimulates stress hormones and cortisol, keeping them in a chronically stressed state.
Breathwork is a method of breath control that give rise to altered states of consciousness and effects the physical and mental well-being. Many cultures around the world are still practicing this because of its profound positive effects.
There are several sub-types of breathwork
- Buteyko Method – is a series of reduced-breathing exercises that focus on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation.
- Wim Hof method – a breathing technique that allows you to control the autonomous systems of the body and strengthen the immune system to fight off disease.
- Holotropic Breathwork – is a practice that uses breathing and other elements to putatively allow access to non-ordinary states of consciousness. It was developed by Stanislav Grof as a successor to his LSD-based psychedelic therapy, following the suppression of legal LSD use in the late 1960s.
- Other types – There are many other types of Breathwork which have emerged over the last few decades, including Integrative Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork, Shamanic Breathwork, Conscious Connected Breathing, Radiance Breathwork, Zen Yoga Breathwork and many others.