What is Breathwork and how can it help you? (in 2024)

young african american female in headphone listening to music while meditating on mat in living room

In the quest for mental wellness and physical health, we often overlook one of the most fundamental elements of our existence — the breath. The question, “What is breathwork?” opens the door to a practice that can transform our lives profoundly.

In this guide, you will find everything breathwork related: how it works, its benefits, and where to learn it.



What is Breathwork?

Respiration is a natural, automatic bodily function, but the way we breathe can vary widely, impacting our physical, mental, and emotional states. 

Breathwork is a conscious, mindful practice of controlling our breathing patterns to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.

What is Breathwork


The Science Behind Breathwork

Breathwork influences our body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls most of our bodily functions. This system is divided into two main components: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which triggers the “fight or flight” response during periods of stress, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), responsible for the “rest and digest” mode when we are at ease.

Breathwork techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help shift the body from the SNS to the PNS, promoting relaxation. A study published in Medicines in October 2020 suggested that deep breathing could act as a switch, moving the body from a state of stress (SNS) to a state of calm (PNS).


Breathwork vs. Meditation

Breathwork and meditation are two practices often used interchangeably but are inherently distinct. While meditation requires some element of breathwork, breathwork doesn’t necessarily need to be paired with meditation. 

Woman meditating

There are numerous forms of meditation, each with its unique breathing techniques. 

However, the common goal is to cultivate mindfulness and promote a sense of inner peace.


8 Benefits of Breathwork

The benefits of breath work are multifaceted, spanning physical, mental, and emotional domains. Some of the key benefits include:

✔ Activating the body’s natural healing system

✔ Facilitating spiritual awakening

✔ Reducing stress and anxiety

✔ Easing tension

✔ Releasing depression

✔ Removing energy blockages

✔ Balancing mind, body, and emotions

✔ Activating chakras


Breathwork Practices for Beginners

For those new to the practice, starting with simple techniques can be the most beneficial. Here are a few Breath Work Practices for Beginners:

✔ Diaphragm Breathing (Dirga Pranayama): This involves slow, deep breathing, engaging the diaphragm muscle located at the bottom of the lungs.

✔ Box Breathing (Sama Vritti Pranayama With Antara Kumbhaka and Bahya Kumbhaka): This technique involves holding the breath after inhaling and exhaling, promoting calmness.

✔ Alternate-Nostril Yoga Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama): In this practice, you breathe through one nostril at a time while manually closing the other.

✔ Ocean Sounding Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama): This technique generates a soothing “haaa” sound on the exhale, promoting relaxation.

✔ Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT): This technique focuses on creating “air hunger” to normalize breathing, particularly beneficial for those with asthma or panic attacks.

✔ Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga): This is a playful technique that involves intentional, manufactured laughter to uplift mood.

✔ Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback (HRVB With Breathing Awareness): This technique uses a biofeedback tool to show that your breathing is getting deeper, aiming to have your breathing match your heart rate patterns.



Here are a few testimonials from satisfied members who’ve experienced the transformative power of breathwork at Samma Karuna:

“I am very new to meditation, and am so happy that my first introduction to it has been through with Samma Karuna.”

“The first session was fantastic. I feel safe. And supported. Almost like having someone helping me through my difficult time. I’m very grateful for them.”

“You get a lot of useful tips for handling stress and anxiety in ‘real life’.”


Tetra Breathwork: A Practice of Compassion

One breathwork practice worth highlighting is Tetra Breathwork. Also known as Awakening Breath, Tetra breathwork is a tantric breathing practice that uses breath for healing and awakening. By following a specific breathing pattern, our mind enters a subtly different state of consciousness, and a natural healing system is activated in the body.

This technique aims to release energetic blockages, allowing the natural healing process to happen. The process is centered on two pillars: breath and awareness. Throughout the therapy, awareness accompanies the process of breathing. The healing comes from allowing the sensation to be there and accepting whatever comes, without any expectation or conditioning.


Tetra Breathwork at Samma Karuna

At Samma Karuna, a wellness center, you can learn and practice Tetra Breathwork

Samma Karuna

Developed by Ishi, this therapeutic practice based on the circular breath may bring both healing to your body and the experience of spiritual awakening.

By practicing compassion towards ourselves, we can better manage our emotions and responses to life’s challenges

Tetra breathwork at Samma Karuna focuses on opening the energy pathways and releasing the blockages, leading to overall well-being.


Breathwork is a powerful tool for self-healing and self-discovery

By understanding what breathwork is and integrating these practices into our daily lives, we can transform our mental, emotional, and physical well-being

Whether you are a beginner looking to embark on this journey or an experienced practitioner seeking to deepen your practice, exploring breathwork can open new pathways to health, happiness, and inner peace.


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