If you’ve ever seen someone practicing yoga or gone to a yoga class, you’ve probably seen someone be reminded to focus on their breath. In ancient times, yoga practice would be defined as directing your breath. This was known as Pranayama. This taught people to consciously breath and to be intentionally aware of their breath. In those teachings, there were many exercises that one could use to get in touch with their breath. By doing so, they would become more self-aware, and develop more self-control. They would also be able to focus more during yoga or meditation, which led to rewards in focus, attention, and memory long afterward.
In this day and age, breathwork has become more advanced. There are new methods and techniques that one can use to focus on their breathing. There are breathing exercises that can be a means of self-healing, self-awareness, and therapy.
Breathwork is defined as more than just intentionally breathing the right way. The breathwork exercises and techniques are used for major healing and transformation in one’s life. There are a range of different therapeutic practices with breathwork that help engulf one’s entire being. These breathwork exercises can help to relieve physical, emotional, and mental tension, discomfort, and even pain. Some even say it can help with the mind, body, and the spirit.
When thinking about breathwork for seniors and older adults, it isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the physical body or exercises one can do to strengthen it. We all know the basic behind breathing; you are inhaling and exhaling air, a process that’s obviously essential to life. When breathing, you are bringing oxygen into the bloodstream and exhaling the carbon dioxide. There are even people like Wim Hof who have popularized more advanced forms of breathing for oxygenation.
During breathwork, when you finish one breath cycle, you are using most of your body. You use your back, belly, chest, and mind. There is effort being put forth to coordinate all aspects of your breath, even though breathing seems so simple.
There are numerous physical benefits involved with breathwork and deep breathing. Some of them happen immediately. When you breathe deeply, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens, science has proven that by slowing down your heart rate you lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. This helps you to feel a sense of calm. You are also calming your diaphragm and relaxing your chest and neck muscles, so not only your mind, but your body, via muscles, calm as well. At the same time, you are engaging your abs. This entire process allows more oxygen to enter your body’s organs and cells.
When the body is in the fight or flight response (under stress), a large amount of hormones (mostly adrenaline and cortisol) get sent throughout the body. This can increase your breathing, blood pressure, and pulse. When this happens, you are more hyper-vigilant. The act of deep breathing can help you slow down these responses and calm your body.
In addition to the physical aspects of breathwork and deep breathing, your mind can benefit, as well. This type of breathing can help calm your mind and reduce the amount of emotional tension you are experiencing. In fact, some studies show that deep breathing can help reduce anxiety, stress, PTSD, and depression.
Breathwork could help you get into a deeper state of relaxation. It can help you to reach your buried grudges, emotions, and traumas. Breathwork can help you to let go of the grip your past has on you and release negative aspects of your life. Many people who experience mental health issues can benefit from breathwork. It can ultimately help you have a calmer and more relaxed way of living.
If you practice breathwork, it could help your spiritual self, too. Breathwork is more than just your body and your mind. When done properly, it allows you to connect with your true self. It allows you to let go of your ego and connect to the universe. There are lot of people who have practiced breathwork who found that is awoke their spiritual self. It allowed them to connect with their inner being and helped them to find out who they truly are.
Breathwork has been around for many years. Some breathwork styles allows people to get into a more altered state of consciousness, while others allow people to practice more inner peace and awareness. At Body Potential Fitness, we teach Pranayama Breathwork. There are other styles, however, so it’s important to distinguish them. The most common styles of breathwork include the following:
This type of breathwork is usually done with the help of intense music. Most of the time, it is also instructor-led. The instructor will lead a group of people. During this style of breathwork, the people doing it will inhale and exhale. They will do both these things for the same amount of time but do so at various speeds. This helps them get into the altered state of consciousness. Some people who practices this type of breathwork will have uncontrollable emotions, experience visions, or have muscle cramps. All of this is normal and it is just a part of the personal experience.
With this style of breathwork, you will be controlling your breath to induce positive effects. When you control your breath, you might be able to get past energetic and emotional blockages. These are likely inhibiting your life’s motivations, goals, dreams, and experiences. There are numerous types of pranayama techniques that you can practice.
This breathwork style is based on the idea that you are carrying stress from your birth. It was a traumatic experience and you need to release the baggage from that experience. During this style of breathwork, you will do circular breathing. Having most of your body underwater during this type of breathwork would be the most effective. It allows you to reduce stress and increase relaxation. When breathing consciously, you can move around energy and improve your experience with breathwork.
These are some of the various types of breathwork that you could try. Personally, I believe that Pranayama Breathwork is the perfect type for seniors and adults over 50. Each one has its own set of benefits and guidelines. With practice, it should be able to help you improve your energy, reduce negative feelings, and feel better overall.
Deep breathing and breathwork are both beneficial to most people. Whichever type of breathwork you use, remember, practice is key. Trying it once and deciding that it doesn’t work for you isn’t a winning strategy. If you are a senior or adult over 50 and you’d like to try Pranayama Breathwork, get in touch with us today. We’d be more than happy to show you our online training courses and classes.