TEMPLE, Texas — September is National Self-Care Awareness Month. One of the most important things I have started doing for self-care and mental health is breathwork. In this week's "Your Best Life" I talked with Johann Urb, the creator of Pyramid Breathwork, and his wife Rachel Pringle, about the transformative power of breathing.
Earlier this year, I began a breathwork practice to help connect with my body and mind. I learned it from Urb, an actor and creator of Pyramid breathwork, and his wife Pringle, who's a dynamic tantra teacher.
"We kind of breathe, right up here, and we're chest breathers and we're supposed to fill our lungs and so that's one of the benefits you get is super oxygenation. You also on a subtler level, really get in touch with your spirituality. It's a really powerful tool to get into your body and mind," Urb said.
Urb, who started meditating at 14, created Pyramid Breathwork a few years ago. Now he hosts regular workshops online and Rachel incorporates it into her free, weekly IGTV embodiment practices.
Pringle said, "It's like a life hack I think it's the number one life hack!"
Why? Urb said it’s because the benefits are instant.
"Even if you did a one-minute breath work, it would change your state. You would go from one state to another state, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And it's a great way to prep yourself, for your workday, for meditation. If you got to focus like it literally focuses your mind and clears clutter It's amazing," Urb said.
There are many different kinds of breathwork. Pyramid breath is more activating than most and involves a deep, powerful breath in through the mouth, then a relaxed open-mouth exhalation, where sound and emotion is released.
According to Pringle, "Giving people permission to sound is such a freeing liberating act, action to do because we are so programmed and conditioned as a society to, like, keep everything repressed, suppressed and to be able to have the ability to just liberate our using our voices and our sounds. It just feels so good."
As you're breathing, you also move your spine and body in a snake-like motion to help move stuck energy and awaken the nervous system to its hidden potential. This pattern is repeated as many as 33-88 times per round. Each practice consists of multiple rounds.
A full breathwork practice usually begins with a faster breath pattern, then evolves into longer and slower breaths as the session deepens, and finally ends with meditation and a time to reflect.
Rachel said breathwork can benefit everyone.
"I think breathwork is for everyone. It's easily adjustable for your state, and you can do the same type of breathwork in a slower pace and is still incredibly beneficial. I think it's one of the most transformational experiences that anyone can have. And I think it's actually very beneficial for people who are having mental illnesses to be able to come outside of their story and actually reconnect to their center."
Unlike meditation, which can often leave your mind wandering, breathwork immediately focuses your attention and you can feel measurable differences immediately.
Urb said it's also great if you're feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
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