You probably already practice breath work without even knowing it.
Every time you pause to take a deep breath in and then let it flow out slowly, this is a brief experience of conscious breathing, the most basic form of breath work.
Our human vessels are multidimensional, yoga teaches us that there are five. Each of these five dimensions are nourished by something different, and when we practice breath work (or prāṇāyāma) we nourish the Prāṇamaya dimension with its preferred energy source: breath. Breath is the vehicle for prāṇa, or life force energy.
There is a very good reason we say things like “take a breath” or just simply “breathe” when someone is in distress. You see, all five dimensions of the human system exist simultaneously, AND they relate to / affect / respond to one another.
When we are upset or agitated, our heart rate increases, our breath becomes rapid and shallow, and we might sweat or tremble. Breathing deeply and slowly interrupts this stress response and communicates to the rest of our dimensions (which consist of the physical body and beyond) that it’s time to calm down.
We can then think more clearly and feel what is true and what a wise response to our situation might be.
If you are interested in learning how to engage breath work as a practice beyond taking a deep breath, we offer an Introduction to Breath Work Audio Course.
The course is $33 and is presented as a self paced series of four audio lessons and three audio guided practices, along with two bonus videos. All of the course content is yours to keep forever, and lesson one is available to stream before committing to a purchase.