You know when you are stressed out, and you say to yourself, “Ok self, take a deep breath! Calm your ass down.” So, you take a deep breath or two, and magically you start to feel better. It’s not magic my friends – it’s breathwork. Imagine how you’d feel if you consciously focused on your breathing and took breathwork classes to hone your skills and feel better daily.
But before we can get into taking breathwork classes online, let’s start with the basics.
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What is breathwork, and how can it help me??
Breathwork is a mindful practice that involves consciously controlling your breathing patterns. Most of the time, we aren’t even conscious about breathing. We don’t think about it. It just happens. But when we focus on it, we can channel our energy to tackle mental, spiritual, and physical challenges.
Think of it as an elevated form of active mediation or breath training. Some techniques are meant to calm your nerves, and other conscious breathwork courses are intended to get your heart pumping.
What are the benefits of taking breathwork classes?
- Reduced stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and anger
- Increased feelings of clarity, gratitude, and connection
- Better and more restful sleep
- Increased focus and ability to detach from immediate reactions
- Connection with your inner sense of peace, calm, and healing
- Deeper state of consciousness
- Release of mental and emotional blocks
How do I Start?
Before you start any breathwork class, it’s imperative to get comfortable. You can sit or lay down somewhere, as long as you are in a relaxed position. Make sure it’s a quiet place, no kids on a sugar-high running through the house, no social media notifications dinging in the background, and definitely no Netflix. You need a quiet, peaceful zen-zone.
Easy Breathwork Techniques for Beginners:
There are a lot of breathwork techniques out there, and some are very advanced. But these five are more basic and will give you a taste to see if breathing classes are for you.
Deep Breathing or Belly Breathing
This is breathwork at its most basic level, and you probably already do it.
Step 1: Slow down your breathing. Think about drinking in the air in long inhalations and exhalations – no little sips of air.
Step 2: Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Imagine that every time you breathe, you fill up your belly, not your chest.
Step 3: Breathe in and out through your nose to help the body absorb more oxygen. Keep an eye on your belly hand. It should be the only hand moving.
Box or Square Breathing
Navy SEALs and front liners are taught this technique as a method to reduce anxiety. If it’s good enough for them, it should be for you as well, right?
Step 1: Find a chair where you can get comfortable and place both feet on the floor.
Step 2: Exhale everything you have until you are running on empty.
Step 3: Slowly inhale for four seconds until you are totally full of air.
Step 4: Hold your breath and count to four.
Step 5: Slowly release your breath until empty to the count of four.
Step 6: Hold your empty breath for a further four seconds.
Step 7: Repeat until you feel better.
Ukrainian Doctor Konstantin Buteyko created this method because he thought most people were over-breathing. His ideology was based on gently reducing your oxygen intake to make your body absorb it more.
The Buteyko method has a few different variations, but the common theme among them all is nose-breathing.
Step 1: Start by breathing through your nose and then slow down your breath. Don’t take large gulps of air. Just keep gently breathing.
Step 2: Slow down even more – continue until you feel slightly short of air.
Step 3: Do this for one minute.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
As the name implies, this breathwork technique takes nose breathing to another level.
Step 1: Get comfy and exhale fully through your nose.
Step 2: Block your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril.
Step 3: Block the left nostril, release the right one and exhale.
Step 4: Inhale through the right nostril, then block it.
Step 5: Open the left nostril and exhale.
That’s one cycle. Continue for five minutes, always ending on the left exhale.
Also known as Victorious breath, ocean breathing, or whispering breathing, this technique utilizes sound to synchronize your breath with the muscles making the sound. It allows you to stay centered and focused. And it drives out distractions to your breathwork meditation session.
This method is also nose-breathing only.
Step 1: Close your mouth.
Step 2: Constrict your throat so when you breathe, it makes a rushing or whooshing sound, kind of like you are snoring.
Step 3: Control your breathing with your diaphragm to make the inhalations and exhalations equal in duration.
Lion’s Breath Breathing
Ok, this one feels and looks rather goofy, but hey, it’s better than feeling like a stressed-out nightmare. It just adds to the breathwork experience. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you are missing out.
Step 1: Grab a yoga mat and kneel with your butt resting on your feet. If that’s not comfortable, sit with your legs crisscrossed or even in a chair. Just make sure you are comfortable.
Step 2: Inhale through your nose.
Step 3: Exhale powerfully while making a “ha” sound. As you exhale, open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can and stick your tongue out toward your chin.
Step 4: As you exhale, try to look at the tip of your nose. It will keep you focused.
Step 5: Relax your face, close your mouth and eyes and start over with an inhale.
Repeat 3-4 times.
Where to Take Breathwork Classes
You can undoubtedly google “breathwork classes near me” or just find an excellent website to take your breathwork classes from home.
Unlike the two apps below, Inward Breathwork focuses solely on breathwork classes and all of their benefits. They have live and on-demand sessions so you can practice your breathwork when it’s convenient for you. Can’t sleep at 4am? Inward Breathwork’s got you covered. They also have a wide variety of class durations, so you can fit it into your busy schedule.
Take as many on-demand classes as your little diaphragm desires and your mind needs.
Click here to get 3 days of FREE breathwork training. Modern Aging readers also get 15% off a subscription. Use code: MODERNAGING15
This free website has 1000’s of classes and over 9000 instructors – not all are breathwork classes. There are loads of meditations, talks, music, and yoga options as well. You can listen to Goldie Hawn guide you through a five-minute gratitude practice. Or Lalah Delia guide you into powerful beliefs that take you to your highest potential. The options are overwhelming and might be too much if you are just starting your breathwork practice. But if you want to explore it all, Insight Timer is a great place to start.
Calm is one of the websites and apps that has marketed its way to the top. But it’s not all marketing. It’s a good site and one focused on the sole concept of keeping calm and balanced through mental fitness. You can listen to sleep stories told by Mathew McConaughey and Bob Ross. You can take your meditation game to the next level, get your stretch on, and of course, get guided breathwork meditation.
One More Breath
Now that you know all about breathwork, you might even find the practice addictive – in a good way. And if you do, there are places around the globe to get your breathwork certification.
But if you just want to practice breathwork to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul, you have all the tools to get you started.