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How to start breathwork.

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

A beginners guide to starting breathwork at home. These simple breathing techniques will lower stress, anxiety and improve your sleep.


meditation breathwork spiritual practice

If you read our last blog post on improving mental wellness while working from home, you’d have learnt that practicing breathwork was a great tool for our mental wellbeing. In this post we will go a little deeper into why breathwork is important, and how you can start practicing breath-work safely.


WHAT IS BREATHWORK, AND WHY YOU SHOULD START TODAY?


You might be thinking, ‘how hard can it be? I breath for a living’.


Well, even though our breath is literally what keeps us alive. So often we will go through our day chronically shallow breathing, literally denying ourselves our full life force. As a result of this we keep ourselves in a state of anxiety or fight or flight.


Breathwork is a powerful tool to access your body’s natural ability to heal itself. The conscious awareness of your breath is a practice which dates back thousands of years and while there are different variations and styles all these different types of breathwork offer the chance for personal transformation through improved mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.


Benefits of Breathwork:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety and grief, depression and anger

  • Increase your energy levels and boost your immune system

  • Increase self-awareness, presence, happiness and joy

  • Increase self-love

  • Improve sleep

  • Release trauma and fear stuck in the body

  • Help to reduce pain

  • Release toxins from your body

  • Improve digestion

  • Explore altered states of consciousness, consciously

What are the different types of breath-work?


breath-work exercises for stress and anxiety

There are many different types of breathing exercises that you can do to help relax. Some of which can be more intense than others and take a more advanced awareness to perform correctly. I suggest that a good place to start if you are new on your breathwork journey, would be Belly breathing.


If you would like to explore more breathwork practices, you can find a certified professional to guide you on your journey at Finding Healers.


How to start BELLY BREATHING:

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.

  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.

  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.

  4. Breathe out through pursed lips as you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.

  5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.

  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.


NEXT STEPS

After you mastered the belly breathing, you may want to try these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three and see which one works best for you:

  • 4-7-8 breathing

  • Roll breathing

  • Morning breathing


breathwork and meditation in nature

4-7-8 breathing

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

  1. To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.

  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.

  3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.

  4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.

  5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.

  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Roll breathing

Roll breathing helps you to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.


  1. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.

  2. Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale, and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do these 8 to 10 times.

  3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.

  4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right-hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.

  5. Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.

  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.


Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.


Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breathe too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly.


meditation breath work practice to reduce anxiety

Morning breathing

Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension.


  1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.

  2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.

  3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.

  4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.

  5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.


It’s Important to note that, breathwork may not be best for everyone. If you’re currently pregnant or have a history of health issues, it would be responsible to consult with your medical doctor before trying breathwork for the first time, just to be safe.


How to get Started?

If you decide that you are interested in implementing breathwork into your life I would advise you to find a well-trained, certified instructor to help you become familiar with various breathwork techniques before trying to attempt them yourself.


It is important to know the proper positioning, the desired effect, and have an awareness of any indicators to discontinue practice. In some cases, it is not advisable to practice on one’s own even after learning from an instructor. Consult your healthcare provider, as well as your fitness/breathing instructor to find out how to easily incorporate breathwork into your life. You can search for a breath-work professional that feels like a good fit for you here.


Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the benefits of breathwork my friends. I look forward to the next time we speak. Leave a comment below if you gave the breathing techniques in this post a try, and let us know how you felt. If you have further questions or would like further guidance you can contact me or any of our professional healers at Finding Healers.

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