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Yogic Breathwork – A Powerful Tool To Improve Your Professional And Personal Life

Written by: Scott Robinson, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Scott Robinson

A Sanskrit proverb says, “For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on Earth.” In fact, there is some scientific truth to this saying. Practicing yogic breathwork helps you develop greater resilience, mental clarity, and emotional balance, which benefits most areas of your personal and professional life.

woman practicing yoga breathwork

Yes, breathing is involuntary, but learning to manipulate your breath helps improve mental, emotional, and somatic symptoms, such as regulating your Co2.


But, wait? Aren’t you supposed to be breathing oxygen? Yes, but your body still needs Co2 in order to balance PH, stabilize brain cell synapses, and stimulate your nervous system among other things. In fact, your body is principally monitoring the levels of CO2 which then affects breathing.


Thus, learning how breathing works, how it affects your body, and ways you can manipulate your breath helps you improve your overall physical and mental health.


What is yogic breathwork?


If you break down the word, one of the meanings of prana is breath or energy and yama is to control. Thus, pranayama is the manipulation of one’s breath. It is an ancient yogic practice that involves different breathing techniques that, according to various studies, has positive medical and mental effects on the body.


Transformational breathwork


In our Western thinking, we often discount the more spiritual practices of Eastern philosophies such as yoga for the more scientific version of medicine. Yet, one study that reviewed findings from research on both pranayama and the Western world’s paced breathing, found that there are benefits to slowing your breathing to six beats per minute. Some of these benefits include:

  • An increase in activity in the subcortical area of the brain that controls internal systems such as heart rate and digestion.

  • It creates an upswing in positivity by regulating your emotions, energy, and reasoning through increased BOLD brain activity.

  • Pranayama’s nasal breathing technique improves the autonomic nervous system which regulates digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, and arousal.

Another study found that:

  • Yogic breathing creates a slight increase in physiological stimulation, improving coping, mental states, and cognitive functions, such as memory.

Inhale, exhale, the types of breathwork explained


Pranayamic breathing methods fit into two broad categories: sama vritti and vishama vritti.


Sama vritti, is where the length of the inhale and exhale are equal. There are two common types of pranayama breathing methods that fall into this category are:


Nadi Shodhana: Also known as alternate nostril breathing, helps balance the two hemispheres of the brain.


Ujjayi: A slow and deep breathing technique that involves contracting the throat muscles above the vocal cords while inhaling and exhaling.


The second type of breathing is called vishama vritti, or uneven breathing where the exhale is exceeds the length of the inhale. Common types of vishama vrittii that fall into this category include:


Kapalabhati: Is a quickened breathing process with brief powerful exhales and slowed inhales.


Bhastrika: A rapid and forceful breathing technique that involves inhaling and exhaling with full force.


Shitali: Involves inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose. It is known to have a cooling effect upon the body.


Sitkari: This involves inhaling through the mouth with a hissing sound and exhaling through the nose.


Surya Bhedana: This involves deeply inhaling through the right nostril, a slight pause and exhaling through the left nostril.


The benefits of yoga in everyday life


Practicing yogic breathwork has many benefits to your personal life. Here are some:

  • Pacing your breath to six beats per minute is recognised as an optimal breathing cycle. By focusing on the breath, you can calm your mind and body, allowing you to live life in a more present and positive state.

  • When you slow your breathing, you can regulate your nervous system and improve your ability to concentrate and focus on tasks without confusion and minimizing distraction.

  • Yogic breathwork helps you become more aware of your body, thoughts, and emotions. This increased self-awareness can help you make more conscious choices and improve your overall well-being.

  • When you intentionally slow and control your breath, you cultivate a sense of inner peace and calm. By regulating your breath and slowing down your thoughts, you can create a sense of inner stillness that can help you feel more centered and grounded.

Overall, practicing yogic breathwork can help you develop greater resilience, mental clarity, and emotional balance, which can benefit all areas of your personal life.


The benefits of yoga in your professional life


The Khorn Ferry Study found that professionals are more stressed than ever. Factors such as having to learn new technological skills, heavy workloads, and even the commute to and from work are causing this uptick in anxiety. Some of the problems stemming from the additional stress were decreased sleep, becoming disengaged at work, and a lack of social interaction.


Practicing pranayama or paced breathing improves corporate wellbeing in several ways:

  • It helps to reduce stress levels, which can, in turn, increase productivity and improve job performance. By using yogic breathing techniques throughout the workday, you can stay focused and energized, even during busy or challenging times.

  • Yogic breathing can help enhance your communication skills by reducing nervousness or anxiety. Thus, cultivating a sense of inner calm and clarity, which allows you to better express yourself and communicate with others more effectively.

  • Nostril breathing enhances creative thinking. If you are stuck on a project or need to resolve a problem, this technique helps to boost your creativity and innovative thinking.

  • The boost you get in cognitive thinking from yogic breathing helps to improve leadership skills by enhancing your self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and your ability to stay calm under pressure. By cultivating these qualities, you can become a more effective and inspiring leader.

  • Another benefit is the increased resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges or change. By practicing breathwork regularly, you can develop a greater capacity to handle stress and uncertainty, which can be invaluable in the workplace.

Overall, yogic breathwork can help you bring more focus, clarity, and resilience to your professional life, allowing you to perform at your best and achieve your goals with greater ease. It is paramount to your success at mastering yogic breathwork to learn from a yoga professional. By doing so, your yoga teacher can help you know which form or forms of breathing techniques are best suited for your unique issue.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin, and visit my website for more information. To receive a complimentary copy of my e-guide, ‘5 Things You Need to Start Your Yoga Practice’, subscribe here.

Scott Robinson Brainz Magazine
 

Scott Robinson, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Scott Robinson is a Finance Professional and Yoga Teacher. He is also the founder of Yogibanker ‒ a specialised yoga & wellbeing service for the financial services industry. He helped found 'dbYoga' at Deutsche Bank, one of the world's leading financial services companies as well as leading regular mindfulness sessions under the brand of 'Mindfulness Mondays'. Over the years, Scott has helped hundreds of finance professionals become stronger, more flexible and less stressed through yoga & mindfulness. Scott's passion is to bring yoga & wellbeing to the financial services industry ‒ one that is kinder, more sustainable with wellbeing at its core.


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