“Just take a breath!”
Isn’t this what they say when things have been tough dealing with the last two years of the COVID-19 era?
Hundreds of thousands of people have died, while others are struggling with anxiety, depression, and grief. The increase in depression and anxiety has been more than 25 percent since before the pandemic. Many are in need of solutions beyond prescription pills.
With COVID taking over our world for the last two years, it has become more important than ever to learn to relax amid all the craziness. Now, many people have discovered that some old techniques originating from all over the world can make a significant difference.
These techniques find their basis in the art of breathing.
The health and wellness modality that’s booming across the world is called Breathwork. Millions of people are just now getting to know the secret that by learning how to breathe, they can heal their body, mind, and spirit.
During the COVID era, many proponents of Breathwork have renewed their efforts to support people in this way. Yogilab is one of them. By introducing special courses, programs, retreats, and resources for people who are interested, we have tried to play our part during this time.
Breathwork involves a holistic, mind-body approach to our well-being. It involves intentionally learning how you breathe normally, learning to control it, and modifying it to influence and improve the internal workings of the human body.
Basics of Breathwork
Breathwork is learning how to modify your breathing to regulate many essential body systems. You do not need fancy equipment or to travel to an ashram to experiment with these techniques. Instead, it is about learning how to use various approaches that can teach you how to breathe with more intention.
For centuries, people of Chinese, Indian, and African origin have incorporated such practices with mediation to produce similar effects. Under Breathwork, techniques can range from simple 2-3 step exercises to more advanced methods. But all of these work towards one goal, which is to put you in control of your own being.
Breathwork – Healing the Body
Breathing better can have a tremendous effect on your body. Though it may sound like something whimsical, Breathwork has a solid basis in science. Extensive data has shown it to work, and Breathwork can have great benefits for those who practice it.
It can help decrease the impact of acute stress (both physical and mental) and chronic disorders. Studies have also shown such methods to be effective in reducing blood pressure, enhancing attention span, and improving overall health. While others have seen that holotropic breathwork (advanced breathing exercises practiced under the care of trained instructors) can release stress, enhance stress response, and even help with addiction recovery. Studies have also presented findings of lowered anxiety levels.
The COVID Damage
The organ that is most damaged due to COVID is the lungs. COVID can cause lasting damage to this organ which is essential to human health. The infection can damage the lung walls and affect the linings of air sacs (area of the lungs responsible for air exchange). This damage can then lead to difficulty swapping oxygen and carbon dioxide. All of this can lead to physical stress on the body. The infection can also affect the mental health and immunity levels of those who have it and others around them. This is where Breathwork can work its magic.
Breathing Through COVID
COVID can put a lot of stress on the lungs. With diminished capacity, stale air can build up in the lungs. This can mean that there is less space for the diaphragm (muscles under the lungs) to contract and fresh oxygen is not coming in as it should. When the diaphragm is not working correctly, muscles in the back, neck, and chest have to work extra. It means lower oxygen levels and lower energy levels for physical activity.
Here Breathwork can do a great deal.
According to the American Lung Association, breathing the right way and with the help of specific techniques can decrease levels of stale air, bring in more oxygen into the lungs, and return the diaphragm and the lung walls to their previous and healthier state.
Breathing Out Stress, Anxiety, & Depression
COVID and stress go hand in hand. Most people trying out Breathwork report the need for better psychological stamina during this time. In addition, Breathwork can affect the parasympathetic nervous system that controls our fight or flight response. This can help calm us down.
Breathing exercises have been associated with reduced anxiety levels and depression. People feeling intense emotions of loss, anger, and confusion can also greatly benefit. Deep breathing exercises have also been seen to improve cognitive performance and decrease the effects of stress on humans. The enhanced mental function has important implications for health, and reduced stress leads to healthier minds.
Building Immunity and Improving Health with Breathwork
During this time, one of the most significant proponents of Breathwork has been health agencies and government health organizations. For example, the National Health Services in the United Kingdom has worked tremendously to raise awareness on how breathing techniques can improve your health.
Physical and mental stress is a significant reason for a weakening immune system, and a weakened immune system can diminish the body’s capacity to fight infections. Physicians say that breathing exercises can help strengthen the muscles in your chest, improve your digestive ability, enhance the quality of sleep and aid the immune system in fighting infections. Others have also described benefits like improved vocal stability and lower heart rate, great for heart health.
Using Breathwork to rebuild your lung capacity after COVID can aid recovery and improve the efficiency of the lungs. In addition, it can help enhance immunity, improve overall health, and work wonders for mental health. Breathwork is not only for those affected by COVID but also for anyone looking for a road to better well-being and restored health. It is all about learning to control your breathing.
Want to learn how to use the full potential of Breathwork? Get details here.