What is breathwork?
Breathwork is a practice in which we use conscious control of the breath to influence a person's mental, emotional or physical state — often with a significant therapeutic effect.
Is it the same as meditation?
Not at all. In fact, some people who haven’t quite found their “groove” with meditation tend to enjoy breathwork a lot more. Opposite to meditation, breathwork does not require you to be still or even quiet.
The whole concept is to allow yourself to release by allowing you to physically move emotions and energy through movement of the breath, sound, and the body. Even if you do have an existing meditation practice, this is a great complement to it that can allow your meditations afterwards to be much deeper and more effective.
What is a breathwork session like?
The best way to know is to experience it for yourself. You can start with some of the shorter introductory sessions in the app, and then join the calendar for the group sessions (included in all Gyroscope Coach memberships).
Your first full session is best conducted in a group setting through Gyroscope.
If it’s confirmed that breathwork is safe for you (meaning you have no underlying, conflicting health conditions), your session will begin with a brief meditation. You’ll then spend 25-30 minutes in the 3-part breathwork pattern.
This will all be conducted on Zoom with the guidance of your practitioner, so your camera should be turned ON to ensure your safety.
After breathing, you’ll be guided out with meditation. At the end, you have the opportunity to share your experience and receive clarity on anything in your experience. Most people feel really zen, clear-headed, and peaceful afterward. You’re definitely encouraged to give yourself a few moments to adjust afterwards. Your first session should take about 45 mins to 1 hr.
The breathing pattern that we use is called the Three-Part Breathing Pattern, otherwise known as the “The Triad Breathing Method.” This is one of the most common breathing techniques under the umbrella of “breathwork.” It involves one breath in the belly, another in through your chest, and a final exhale out the mouth.
Some of the physical effects...
- Alkalizes your blood Ph
- Improved blood oxygen
- Improved circulation
- Elevates your mood
- Improved muscle tone
- Reduced cortisol levels
- Reduced inflammation
It can help with...
- Managing stress
- Improving mental health
- Feeling more centered
- Reducing anger or anxiety
- Reducing addictions
- Dealing with grief or loss
- Migraines or physical pain
Who is it recommended for?
Anyone who wants more clarity, peace, focus, reduction in stress, anxiety or other mood enhancing benefits. If you do not have any of the health conditions that interfere with your safety during this practice, then breathwork is recommended for you.
If you do have any underlying conditions, you may still practice breathwork, but gentler styles are recommend (compared to the 3-part breath).
What can I expect to happen during a session?
- Tingling or tightness, otherwise known as “Tetany” in the hands/feet
- Commonly known as “Lobster Claw” (A clenching of the fingers. See below for more explanation.)
- Emotional release like crying, frustration, anger, screaming
- Change in temperature (hot or cold)
- Connection to a deeper state of being/mind
- Increase or decrease in energy
Is it safe for me?
Individuals who have a history of cardiovascular problems, breathing problems like asthma, high/abnormal blood pressure, aneurysms, epilepsy or history of seizures, bipolar depression, a recent surgery, recent trauma, or on heavy medications, or is pregnant should not participate in the breathwork we do here.
If you have a specific condition not listed, please contact your doctor and coach to clarify.
Why do people get tetany?
Tetany, otherwise known as “lobster claws” can happen during breathwork. In short, your hands feel like they are stuck in a “lobster claw” shape. Not to worry as they are not permanently stuck this way. There are several reasons why this might occur.
The most common reason is from forcing the exhale and breathing too fast.
Our CO2 levels in our bodies decrease rapidly and thus, our body cannot replace it fast enough. Basically this happens because of overstimulated neuromuscular activity.
It can also occur if you have low calcium, magnesium, or potassium levels or too much acid. It’s not unsafe, and is a fairly common side effect. Your practitioner will do their best in closely monitoring your breathing and bodily reactions to prevent this from occurring.
How often should I do breathwork?
You can do it as often as you’d like. The more frequently you do it, the more transformation you invite in your life. Most of our Gyroscope Coach members attend a live session once a week, though you can also practice breathwork on your own during your daily meditations.
The shorter on-demand versions are also accessible for quick meditations during the day or doing it on your own schedule. Just like exercise, some people may prefer to do solo short sessions on their own, while others may prefer the extra accountability & support from a group session with a community. We suggest you try both.
How long should I do it?
Typical sessions last about 45 minutes to an hour, with about 30 minutes of actual breathing time followed by a meditation and visualization period. However, shorter sessions are also very effective and can also be added to your routine. You can find sessions of increasing length starting from just 5-10 minutes in your Coach tab under the Breathwork section!
What are some resources I can use to learn more?
Science of Breathing by Jessica Levine
How one hour of slow breathing changed my life by James Nestor
Breathwork Science website
Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown
The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof
Breath by James Nestor
The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
Just Breathe by Dane Brule
Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza
How to change your mind by Michael Pollan