Breathing seems like such a mundane subject. We all breathe to stay alive, but most do not breathe to optimize. If you take a moment to draw awareness to your own breathing, you might notice that it is very shallow. Also, are you breathing through your nose or mouth? The habit of shallow mouth-breathing can lead to all sorts of dysfunction in the body, eventually leading to chronic ailments such as asthma, cardiovascular problems, weak immune system, poor brain function, imbalanced hormones, psychological disorders such as depression and MANY more. Unfortunately, when diagnosed with any one of these, most resort to prescription drugs only to treat the symptom and do nothing to address the source. There is more than enough evidence that shows us the power of healing through natural practices but they're not mainstream because it's not profitable. The last thing pharmaceutical companies want is for you to know that you can heal yourself without their drugs.
What is Breathwork?
Simply put, breathwork is a practice that allows us to control functions of our body which would otherwise be automatic; functions dictated by the autonomic nervous system(ANS). Within the ANS are two categories: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system(SNS) activates the "fight or flight", or stress, response. It increases the heart rate, shunting blood flow away from the gut and towards the muscles to survive the perceived dangerous situation. The parasympathetic nervous system(PNS) activates the relaxation response. This will lower the heart rate and increase blood flow to the gut and other internal organs to help repair tissues and aid in digestion.
The stress response helped cave-men survive life and death situations, but is now slowly degrading modern day humans. Our perception dictates our brain's response. Even though we are not being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, our SNS will still activate during stressful moments such as answering important e-mails or worrying about something in the future.