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breathwork: tapping into the power of our breath

Anyone that has experienced a yoga class is likely familiar with the concept of controlling your breath. This basic practice, known in Sanskrit as pranayama, translates simply to "life force" and "control", and consists of conscious breathing or becoming aware of your inhales and exhales. If you've tried it, you've probably noticed how it also serves as a way to calm the mind and relax the body - it's an excellent tool for de-stressing when we feel challenged or nervous. And the best part — breathwork is easy!

Interested in trying breathwork? Download Yoga Wake Up and check out our two newest series to get started today!

When we practice breathwork, or consciously breathe, we tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as a "rest & digest" state in which the heart rate slows, blood pressure drops and we create an instant state of calm. It also invites relaxation into areas of the body, such as the neck and shoulders which can carry so much physical tension. Because of its natural ability to oxygenate the blood and body, and its accessibility (anyone can do it, anytime!) simply closing your eyes and bringing awareness to the breath can bring you into a calmer state almost instantly.

We spoke with breathwork-expert Ava Johanna, the creator of our two newest in-app series, “Energize” and “Calm”, about how breathwork is used in her daily life. In her day-to-day practice, Ava says that breathwork allows her to “achieve a specific emotional, mental, or physical state in only a few minutes which can impact your entire day.” The best part about breathwork is that it can be done anytime and anywhere. Stressed at work? Practice breathwork! Trying to wind down for bed? Breathwork!

Ava has seen the benefits of breathwork in multiple areas of her life, including dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, and burn out. It’s also increased her confidence, increased her immune system's strength, as well as her creativity and self trust. With such a wide range of impact, everyone can find the benefit to adding a few minutes of breathwork into their lives.

While trying something new can feel overwhelming, Ava suggests being patient with yourself. “Just like committing to a gym routine or meditation practice, you will be met with resistance on some days, so expect that there will be days where you don't want to do it and remember why you started in the first place and how good it feels to finish a practice”, she says.

Aiming to make practicing breathwork accessible to everyone, Ava is most excited to introduce breathwork to the Yoga Wake Up community, and make the practice of breathwork approachable. “Many people think of breathwork as the intense 2 hour long workshop in your yoga studio, but that's only one breath technique. I am excited to introduce the Yoga Wake Up community to breathwork practices they can do every day for as little as 5 minutes a day to see major shifts in all areas of their life!”

Who knew that something we do subconsciously could be so powerful once we become conscious about the powers of our breathing? Start your breathwork practice today by checking out Ava’s two new series, “Energize”, created for the morning, and “Calm”, designed to be taken in the evening.

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