How to Calm Your Nervous System with Breathwork

Never underestimate the magic of a deep inhale.

 minute read

Thanks to COVID-19, the world is one big tripping circuit. Billions of nervous systems are responding to a global crisis in individual and collective ways. For many people, just thinking about tomorrow sends a ripple of dread through their bodies. 

Job uncertainty, sick loved ones, and loneliness spanning an undefined timeline is enough to make even the hardiest soul suffer a little. If you feel untethered, or you are the ultimate empathy sponge absorbing other people's dread, breathwork is an effective tool to help ground and clear energy from your system.

What is breathwork?

Contrary to popular belief, breathwork isn’t just meditating. Plus, if you’re in the wildly popular 'I can't meditate' camp, breathwork might be just the ticket. Breathwork is an active meditative practice where you intentionally pull air in and out of the body over an extended period of time. The act of intentional breathing helps quiet the mind and drop into the body.

What are the benefits of breathwork?

Our bodies hold the memories of our lives. They are a scrapbook of the beautiful, life-affirming moments, and the difficult, darker experiences. Using the breath to move and shift stored energy can feel like a warm hug, a powerful clearing wave, or a full blown meltdown. Many of my students have experienced deep self-love and relaxation, had psychedelic visions, or cleared childhood trauma in sessions.

If you're looking for a major system recalibration, I recommend attending an online breathwork class. You'll be guided through an extended period of deep and intentional breathing with music to help support the soul dive.

For in-the-moment energy clearing, I lean on integrative patterns. I call these silent weapons because you can do them anywhere, any time. Here are two; use them as an anxiety-reducing technique during times of need.

Grounding pattern

My favourite pattern for getting into my body and quieting my mind. You can do this pattern while walking, in a quiet place listening to music, or even when you're sitting on a Zoom call. 

  1. Five deep inhales and exhales (breathe deeply into the belly).
  2. One top hold (inhale and hold your breath for as long as possible).
  3. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

Energy pattern

If you're feeling sludgy, this pattern is a powerful energy shifter. It's very common to encounter some resistance when you start this pattern. This is the mind trying to keep you safe, and will pass as your body settles into rhythm. You can always slow down if needed.

  1. 50 forced exhales (this should be short, and rapid, like you're blowing out candles).
  2. Five deep inhales and exhales.
  3. One bottom hold (exhale and hold your breath for as long as possible)
  4. Repeat for 3-5 rounds.

The takeaway

Breathwork sounds simple, and it is. But don't mistake simple for profound. After a couple of months of uncertainty, and a lifetime of pushing down feelings, breathing deeply into the body can feel like dredging gold from pits of mud. 

Whether you're looking for transformation or you just want to feel a little more human, breathwork is a powerful tool. No time spent in the body is wasted. Breathe deep. Enjoy the ride.

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