It’s the thing that is free, we’re already doing it 24/7 and has been growing in popularity over the last few years: BREATHWORK.
Since becoming a breathwork facilitator myself and integrating it into my daily practice and sharing it with my clients, I can safely say breathwork has changed my world for the better.
This week I chatted with Ava Johanna, spiritual business coach and founder of The Academy of Breath, about all things breathwork and meditation. Ava is also my coach and mentor who I can credit with teaching me everything that I know about breathwork and meditation (this is the power combo of rituals). If you’re interested in listening to this conversation, check out our live chat here.
Let’s dive in.
How exactly does breathwork work? What is actually happening in the body?
Breathwork, in the most basic description, is like an energetic and physical vacuum, sucking up all of the internal noise, messiness, and distraction that keeps us often scared to be silent or alone with ourselves. The breathwork techniques that I teach on a physiological level bring you out of a stress response into your relaxation response. At the same time, with practice, you are shifting from beta brain waves into theta and sometimes delta brain waves which are where intuition speaks loudly and the subconscious is more malleable to re-programming beliefs, identities, and associations.
When we look at that through the lens of spirituality, we’re using the body as a conduit for creating an elevated and expanded feeling in your being. Our feelings influence our thoughts and our actions, so when we have tools that elevate our feelings, we are able to remove ourselves from the chronic worry, stress, and associations of fear in our lives. In it’s place, our minds are more open to the conscious ideas that many of us play with in the self help space like.
Using our breath, we can detach from the rudimentary mind games that often prevent us from feeling expansive, hopeful or in faith. Through feeling, we become more open to hear the part of us that knows it is safe, supported and infinitely loved.
What are some breathwork benefits?
Different techniques offer different benefits, so you can tailor your practice to what you need on that day. For example; you may use a practice like Chandra Bedhi to lower stress levels, activate the vagus nerve, and support the immune and digestive systems, then on the other hand, there are more arousing practices that are great for circulating and generating energy in the body by activating the sympathetic nervous system. Inside my breathwork and meditation certification, the Academy Of Breath, I teach you 9 different techniques that are: calming, balancing, energizing, clearing, activating, and soothing.
What got you hooked on breathwork?
For me, it was like the next spiritual high that I was craving after having a consistent yoga practice and feeling like asana and the physical movements had plateaued in how they made me feel. Breath and meditation helped me to go deeper, to become more intimate with myself and to get to know myself better in ways moving my body couldn’t.
What have you seen in yourself and your clients since you starting consistently practicing breathwork and meditation?
Most of my clients/students inside of AOB walk away forever changed in how they manage their stress, feel about themselves and their purpose, and their connection to the world around them. These practices create confidence, presence, clarity, creativity, vitality, greater health (I haven’t been sick in years), intuition, and the list could go on forever. They are practices for physical, mental, spiritual and emotional hygiene.
What is the best breathing exercise for anxiety?
Equal ratio breathing is a great place to start as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing in and out of your nose, you’ll inhale for 4, hold your breath at the top of your inhale for 4, exhale for 4, and hold your breath on empty for 4. Begin again and repeat for a minimum of 5 minutes.
What are the best breathwork tips for beginners?
When you’re first starting out, you’re likely going to be engaging muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. Just like starting a new fitness regimen, breathing correctly takes practice and might be challenging at first as your unused muscles atrophy over time. If it is a challenge, stick with it and know that you are creating a new muscle memory that gets easier every time.
How can someone become a certified breathwork facilitator?
Through the Academy of Breath! It is an 8 week online breathwork and meditation certification program that equips you with both evidence-based practices and the spiritual origin of these tools so you have a comprehensive knowledge that you can use to deepen your own practice and teach others. We are also the only breathwork and meditation teacher training that supports you with business strategy so you leave the training fully confident in your authentic voice and how to create a profitable wellness business.
What is your favorite thing about having your breathwork certification program?
100% seeing others have breakthroughs with breathwork and meditation and walk away changed individuals 🙂
You can find Ava on Instagram @avajohanna and @thealchemizedlife and her website is avajohanna.com.
If this has got you curious and interested in learning more about breathwork and meditation, I highly recommend checking out Ava’s certification program the Academy of Breath. This is the certification I went through earlier this year and it was a total game-changer for my personal practice (as well as now being able to share it with my clients).
Until next time,