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Breathwork for Beginners

The breath can be one of the most healing tools one can have for mental health and addiction recovery. If you’re unsure how to start incorporating this tool into your journey, don’t worry. There are different types of breathwork for beginners that will help you create your own practice.

What Exactly Is “Breathwork”?

Breathing is so much more than just a basic function we need to survive. In fact, when you intentionally control your breathing, it can help you re-discover your sense of self, ease anxiety, and allow your nervous system to come back to a more regulated state.

According to a 2023 study in Scientific Reports, breathwork comprises “various practices which encompass regulating the way that one breathes, particularly in order to promote mental, emotional and physical health.” In simplest terms, breathwork is a practice where you perform intentional and controlled breathing.

Breathwork for Beginners: Simple Practices

When it comes to breathwork for beginners, you may be wondering how or where to start. A 2023 study in Cell Reports Medicine examined the effects of three 5-minute breathwork exercises over the course of one month. It actually found that breathwork produces a “greater improvement in mood and reduction in respiratory rate” over mindfulness meditation, another popular wellness practice. Two of the three practices used in the study are very simple exercises. This is a great place to start for beginners.

Cyclic Sighing

One of the simplest breathwork for beginners includes cyclic sighing, which emphasizes prolonged exhalations. Cell Reports Medicine found this practice to be the most effective as a stress management tool, improving mood and reducing respiratory rate.

  • To begin this practice, you can sit in a chair, on the floor, or lie in bed. Set a timer for five minutes.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose. Once your lungs begin to expand, inhale a second time through your nose to maximally fill your lungs. It’s okay if the second inhale is shorter and smaller than the first.
  • After that, you’re going to slowly and fully exhale all of your breath through your mouth.
  • Repeat this breathing pattern for five minutes, until the timer goes off. Return to breathing normally.

When practicing breathwork for beginners, it’s important to feel out what works best for you. This can help you regain confidence in making healthy choices for yourself. In cyclic sighing, for example, it may feel better for you to breathe entirely through your nose instead of the suggested “in through your nose, out through your mouth” process.

Box Breathing

Another great practice for beginners is known as “box breathing” or “tactical breathing.” This is one of the more well-known breathwork practices that’s even been used by members of the military to reduce stress and improve performance.

  • Sit down comfortably in a chair, on the floor, or lie in bed. Set a timer for five minutes.
  • Inhale through your nose for four seconds (four counts).
  • Hold your breath for four seconds.
  • Exhale through your mouth for four seconds.
  • Rest for four seconds.
  • Repeat the process until your timer goes off and then begin breathing normally again.

For this example, we will explain the box breathing technique using four-second intervals, but you may want to experiment with other intervals like three or five seconds. Again, this is all about learning what works best for you.

Other Ways to Practice Breathwork

There are many other types of breathing techniques that can help you come back to the present moment and experience wellness benefits. You may want to seek out breathwork classes or workshops in your area. Many holistic recovery programs, like the one at The Guest House, will also have staff specifically trained in breathwork that leads you through different patterns of guided breathing over a certain period of time.

It’s important to note that breathwork can have a wide variety of benefits, including the release of stuck trauma and other stagnant energy in your body. If you ever feel tired, down, or “off” after a session, just know this is normal. After the initial period, you will feel better than ever before.

Breathwork for Beginners in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

There’s no question that breathwork is an excellent tool for overall wellness. Breathwork for beginners also has an array of benefits for those in mental health and addiction recovery. According to Scientific Reports, people with stress and anxiety disorders “tend to chronically breathe faster and more erratically.” Breathwork can help slow down this pace and bring your nervous system back to a more regulated state.

For those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), breathwork can have the same calming effects. It can also help you get your mind off of substances and bring your awareness back to your body instead.

Breathwork for Beginners at The Guest House

The holistic care program at The Guest House focuses on an individual-first approach to mental health and addiction recovery. We offer a wide variety of cutting-edge therapies and holistic modalities to help heal your mind, body, and soul together as one.

At The Guest House, we operate on the belief that many of your struggles can be traced back to frightening events or trauma experienced in the past. Our conscious connected breathwork program is an excellent tool to help you not only process your trauma but also release its energy from the body.

Our therapists are specially trained to work one-on-one with you through a powerful breathwork session. You will be able to explore your beliefs, focus your mind, and set a specific intention for what you would like to accomplish through your session and your larger recovery journey as a whole.

Your therapist will also help you create a toolkit for recovery that can include many other modalities to heal your life and regain your confidence. This individualized approach will allow you to find the practices that work best for you and your lasting plan for success.

Breathwork is an ancient Eastern practice that has received a lot of attention over the last few years from Western medical circles. This modality has a wide range of benefits to help you overcome trauma, mental health struggles, and addiction. Breathwork for beginners can be an extremely useful tool in recovery, especially when it’s conducted in a holistic environment like that at The Guest House. Our program offers cutting-edge therapies and holistic modalities to help you heal your mind, body, and soul. Our conscious connected breathwork program will allow you to focus your mind, shed your fears, and come back to an emotionally regulated state in the body. For more information, call us today at (855) 483-7800.