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August 5, 2020

Here’s everything you wanted to know about breathwork…

The breathwork that I offer is a 2-step inhale. It’s a belly-chest inhale, taking in 80% with the belly and 20% in the chest, followed by a gentle release out. This is all done through the mouth. When you exhale think of it as a release, not a forceful push.

Why this helps:

  • When you breathe through your mouth, it means more oxygen to your body.
  • You can tap more fully into your emotions and release them more completely.   
  • Helps to control the fight, flight, or freeze response within your sympathetic nervous system.

This breathwork is best performed laying down with your head fully flat. I recommend you avoid eating a large meal within an hour of your session.

When we begin the session you’ll want to begin with consistent breaths. Harder and faster does not equal better or deeper. This is a great way to see if you’re trying to control the situation or if you’re able to let go and let your breath do the work.

Some physical sensations that you may experience:

  • Short-term light-headedness
  • Tingling 
  • Tetany. Tetany is cramping and it’s caused by an imbalance of O2 and CO2. Deep mouth breathing causes a reduction in the CO2 which is necessary for oxygen to be released by hemoglobin to the tissues and organs (called the Bohr Effect). Reduced CO2 creates respiratory alkalosis (high pH levels) and the decreased oxygen results in constriction of smooth muscle in the airways and blood vessels —which leads to cramping in the extremities.

Beginners experience this more often because they tend to over-exaggerate their breath—when you exhale too hard in this breathwork, you lose more CO2 and the effects can be more pronounced.

  • Fluctuations in the temperature of your body, body shaking, and you can feel stuck.

I want you to have a clear intention for the session, to understand the proper breathing technique, and have the willingness to surrender to the experience.

Benefits of breathwork:

  • Stress relief
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Healing of trauma
  • Removal of creative blocks
  • Detoxes your body
  • Alkalizes your blood
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Provides anti-inflammatory effect
  • Elevates mood
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Energy boost

This work can induce the release of intense energetic emotions. Breathwork work should never take the place of psychotherapy, but it can significantly deepen the practice and enhance all other healing and personal growth efforts.

Breathwork can help you:

  • Access healing and insight
  • Expand your consciousness
  • Tap into more creativity
  • Release stress or anxiety
  • Move past feeling stuck and re-energize your life
  • Release emotional or physical symptoms and unproductive behavior patterns
  • Transform the negative side effects of long-forgotten events buried deep in your unconscious.
  • Heal trauma
  • Connect more deeply or get in touch with your spiritual essence
  • Feel supported through a period of mourning or grieving
  • Explore feelings about the state of the world around you
  • Work through a physical illness by exploring the emotional issues associated with it
  • Discover your higher calling or vocation
  • Experience mystical states
  • Move on from depression
  • Overcome feelings of discouragement, listlessness, or disorientation
  • Become empowered
  • Deepen your capacity to support yourself and your loved ones
  • Access your inner wisdom and intuition
  • Know yourself more deeply
  • Create a more fulfilling life

One of the most incredible aspects of this practice is you’re given only what you’re ready for and need to experience right now. If you are looking for a physical release, you’ll receive it. If you’re wanting an emotional purge it will be given to you. 

With this incredible practice, you’ll gain the ability to slow down your thoughts and mental stressors. The breath is doing the work. If at any time you feel it’s too much, just slow your breathing, or breathe in and out of your nose instead of your mouth. 

Breathwork is so amazing and fully empowering for this very reason. You are the person who is controlling the breathing. Nothing is being done to you. It’s so important in breathwork to allow yourself to have whatever experience you have, without judging it, trying to stop it, trying to deny it, or trying to change it. The more you’re able to surrender to the experience and trust that your body is safe and that it knows what it can handle, you will have a healing and rejuvenating experience.

People who participate in breathwork can experience an improvement in their sleep, relief from chronic pain, the release of different emotions, and support with recovery from addiction. With this healing modality, you are enabled to find deeper meaning in life and release stress and trauma. 

My favorite outcome from breathwork?

A greater sense of connection to all parts of yourself.

Breathwork can be experienced with someone like me in a private one-on-one guided session or in a group setting. If you feel drawn to it, you can also practice breathwork at home on your own.

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Caryn Kirchhoff-Herrera  |  Contribution: 230