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The Simple Science Behind Breathwork: How it Impacts Your Mind and Body 

December 07, 20235 min read

You know when something just finally clicks? Like it is the EXACT thing you have been looking for but didn’t even know you needed? 

That was my experience the first time I tried breathwork. I was HOOKED. I needed to know everything…  how on earth did my body just have such a release from “just” breathing? Why have I not been taught this before? How does everyone not know about this? Could it simply be just breathing or was there something more complex to it? 

After my first experience with breathwork, I not only wanted to do it again, as often as possible,  I also wanted to learn everything there was to know about it and then share this powerful tool with others.  I had to find a course to learn all of this and fast. So, I took a course and became a breathwork facilitator.

If you are like me and love to learn the ins and out of how something works...

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from what I learned: 

  1. Natural, conscious breathing is intuitive. We are designed to take full, deep breaths that expand down into our bellies. We breathed this way as babies and into childhood, and somewhere along the way, we lost sight of that and our breathing changed, becoming more rapid or more shallow. Ultimately, most adults do not breathe optimally for their health. 

  2. When spending time breathing consciously, it can have profound effects on our mental health, immune system, nervous system and sleep. 

  3. Breathing into our bellies, or diaphragmatic breathing, offers various health benefits: 

    a.Stress reduction: focusing on breathing into our bellies can take us out of our sympathetic nervous system “fight or flight” and into parasympathetic “rest and digest” allowing our bodies to know they are safe and can therefore function properly. Deep breathing also reduces stress hormones like cortisol. 

    b.Improved respiratory function: improve lung capacity, increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream 

    c.Anxiety management: Helps to bring us out of our overthinking minds and into our bodies, therefore creating a clear  and centered state of mind

    d.Pain management: Can help release tension in our bodies by moving breath and softening the muscles and fibers that have remained tense, possibly without our knowing 

    e. Enhanced focus and concentration: increasing oxygen levels to the brain can assist with focus and alert state 

  4. The balance between CO2 (carbon dioxide) and O2 (oxygen) is key. Breathwork helps optimize the absorption of CO2 which helps increase O2 absorption and can help eliminate waste. When we breathe slowly and deeply, we increase the rate of CO2, which in turn increases the O2 in our bodies leading to a calm feeling and deep healing. When wee breath faster, we are decreasing the rate of CO2 which is helpful to wake up the body and activate our nervous system.

I could go on and on with the benefits, but the science is fascinating. Our bodies know how to breathe, it is our innate way of being. We have the power within us to bring breathwork into our daily lives and create any of these changes. 

So to answer my own questions… yes it is “simply breathing” but there is something so profound about letting go of that which no longer serves us and living a more intentional life, which can start with intentional breathing. 

If you want to here more about my first experience with breathwork, read on…

I am sitting in the middle of my living room floor, sobbing and hugging a small pillow while my 1 year old daughter naps in her room. I cried the cry that I had been holding in for years… or maybe a lifetime. Afterward, I felt incredibly light and free. 

You see, my sweet daughter (now 4 years old) has Hirschsprung’s Disease. My first year as her Mama was nothing like I imagined it would be. Nothing like the perfect instagram pictures people post of their newborns or maternity leave. Nothing like all the advice I was given… “sleep when she sleeps” or “enjoy every second, they grow up so fast.”  Instead, my first year was filled with doctors appointments, surgeries and ER visits while also navigating how to be a first time parent, breastfeeding and trying to find time for self care. I had no time to process anything that was happening because the traumas hit one after another, by the time we were settled again, something terrifying would happen, causing my nervous system to become overly dysregulated with limited tools to use to find calm. 

That’s what led me to breathwork, knowing I needed to change something to get me out of this dark spiral of pity for myself, deep grief and overwhelming fear. I tried my first online class where the leader encouraged me to “allow whatever feelings come up to be present…” this was the first time I heard to allow space for those feelings rather than stuffing them down which I had been doing until they became too much. I FELT my feelings, I gave space for them to be seen and heard… and I felt a release like nothing I could have imagined. And I learned… wow, my body knows exactly what to do to heal. 

Want to try breathwork for yourself?

Try our FREE 3 breaths in 3 days breathwork series here. where you will receive a balancing breath, calming breath and activating breath right to your email.

Want to go deeper?

Sign up for one of our online group or 1:1 breathwork sessions here. We would love to guide you through a powerful breathwork experience based on your intention.


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