A Simple Guide to Breathwork, with Bethany Rose Yoga

Salt Escapes yoga instructor Beth, explains how we can use breathwork as a simple, effective tool for reducing stress, bringing balance to our body, and improving restful sleep. Read about the benefits and follow Beth's guided breathwork, or as we like to call it, Bethwork, below.

October 9, 2023

I was first introduced to breathwork when I did my first yoga teacher training in 2018. I now practice breathwork weekly and have noticed that I feel much more relaxed and less anxious. It has also become a part of my week that I look forward to. I always like to keep my practices short which means I can nearly always find time to do it.

Yoga instructor taking a yoga class on fitness retreat
Beth adds guided breathwork into her yoga classes on Escapes

The benefits of breathwork

Breath work has many benefits and is a great tool to reduce stress in our lives and bring balance to the body. A primary purpose of breath work is to activate the body's relaxation response. By breathing mindfully, you can slow down your heart rate and create a sense of calm. Conversely short and shallow breathing can trigger the sympathetic nervous system causing the body to reel stressed and anxious. Some benefits of breath work are: reduce stress and anxiety by helping us trigger the parasympathetic nervous system returning the body to a relaxed state, improve focus by calming your response system and keeping you alert, improve sleep by creating a greater sense of calm and relaxation which your body needs for a good nights rest, improve mood and promote relaxation. Breathwork is a great tool to help you face obstacles that life might throw at you.

How often should you add breathwork into your routine?

Whatever works for you, whether that's a few minutes a month, week or day, making it accessible and practical to add into your life. I like to do bite-sized amounts, just a few minutes when I can, to make it manageable.

When is the ideal time to practice breathwork?

Breath work can be practiced anytime during your day - whatever time you choose to practice you are going to receive benefits. Find a calm spot, where you have little distractions around you. I like to take myself outside in the mornings so that I can listen to nature and breathe in the fresh air for a few minutes before the day starts. Or, in the evenings before you go to sleep to help lower your heart rate and calm you so that I get a good nights rest.

Is there a short, simple breathwork practice we can try at home?

One of my favourite breathing practices is three part breathing, this is a simple and effective breathing technique to help calm and soothe. Begin by finding a comfortable seated or lying position, and take a moment to allow yourself to settle. Start by taking a full breath in and out. Now inhale fully through the nose, feel your belly, ribs and chest expand and exhale through the nose, chest, ribs, belly deflate fully. Repeat for 7 rounds. Then gently bring your breath back to its natural everyday breathing. Completely relax, and take a moment to observe how you're feeling.

If you would like to try a guided breathwork practice then just head to my Spotify!

You can also practice yoga with me on my online yoga studio here or follow me on Instagram, where I share snippets of my practice and life as a yoga teacher.

Yoga instructor doing some guided breathwork on fitness retreat
Beth teaching on our Zakynthos Escape

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