Breathwork:
A Totally Different Exercise Experience

Cleansing. Exhilarating. Healing. Intense. Liberating. I haven’t quiet experience anything that made me glow while fully clothed quite like breathwork. Guided by Joy Dushey of The Joyful Approach I laid blindfolded, in the dark, under the comfort and security of a blanket. Although I simply inhaled and exhaled, it was so much more than that.

Breathwork is a practice that involves focused manipulation of the speed and depth of breath for a continual period of time. The exercise can evoke feelings of euphoria, relaxation, clarity, and release. During my group experience, the collective rhythmic breath was punctuated with primal screams, deep sobs, bubbly laughter, and ecstatic sighs. It felt almost as if the breathing left no room between the physical self and deep emotion, therefore, there was nowhere for it to go except OUT!

Breathwork isn’t just a lot of hot air- it’s a profound exchange of vital gases that can help reduce stress and inflammation. The action of accelerated breathing purges acidic carbon dioxide which means the blood becomes more oxygenated and more alkaline. Changes in pH usher in several reactions. As pH increases with oxygenation, this causes blood vessels in the brain to constrict, creating a natural high not dissimilar to a serving of alcohol. Muscles become activated and can contract involuntarily due to a shift in calcium ions. This can be beneficial to muscle tone and I can report that several of my fellow breathers experienced mild foot and hand cramping as proof. Also, hyperventilation signals neurons to secrete epinephrine from the adrenal glands as a protective measure and has anti-inflammatory effects.

I felt so fantastic after the 60-minute session. It was an experience something like the thrill of a runner’s high, mixed with a centeredness from a productive guided meditation, enhanced with post-coitus giddiness. What I really loved about the session with Joy was her gentile encouragement and suggestions throughout the exercise. It provided something to focus on and a deepening of intention. Amazingly the effects lasted for several days! If you’re looking for an all-natural, substance-free way to raise your vibration and feel your best, I would highly recommend breathwork practice.