Ten years ago, few of us had even heard of Breathwork but now it is on the brink of being everywhere. What is Breathwork and why is it set to be one of the biggest trends of 2021?

Oliver James

Oliver James

If this is your first time hearing about Breathwork then, without doubt, it will not be your last. Breathwork is going through what would best be described as an explosion. Not only has the Global Wellness Summit crowned Breathwork as one of its top wellness practices of the year but, with the likes of research heavyweights Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins contributing research to the field, it is clear Breathwork is here to stay.

In its simplest form, Breathwork can be described as a process of “consciously changing your breath for a specific purpose or outcome.” This might include deepening your breath, slowing it down or changing the ratio of inhalation to exhalation. Forms of Breathwork have been around for thousands of years but it has only been in the last few decades that the general population have had access to some of its extraordinary practices. Today, there are tens of thousands of breaths out there for you to try and thousands of schools and Breathwork practitioners for you to practice with.

So… what changed?

For decades, we have been aware of how specific breathing patterns can relieve stress, manage pain and improve focus but it is really only in the last ten years that research has proliferated. It can help us to everything from hacking previously unhackable parts of the nervous system to balancing the immune system and even slowing down our body’s aging process!

The Rise and Rise of Breathwork

Two other factors have helped catapult Breathwork into the limelight. Without doubt, it has been a challenging year and, coupled with enforced isolation and social distancing, each of us have had to find new ways of looking after ourselves. Before March 2020, perhaps we would have turned to medical professionals or even our friends and families for help but, thanks to COVID 19, our usual channels of support were stripped away. Confined to our homes and faced with rapid lifestyle changes, we have found ourselves increasingly open to try new things.

Breathwork happened to be one of them.

And… when it comes to taking ownership of one’s own wellbeing, we will be hard pressed to find a simpler, more practical mechanism than our own breathing. Put simply: it works! Literally, right under your nose, you have the means to balance your mood, ease your mind and improve your fitness; to harness strength you never knew you had and, with the right technique, deliver more oxygen to every part of your body.

Yes. Breathwork is set to fly this year and, when it does, it will be taking us with it.

21 Breaths: Breathing Techniques to Change your Life by Oliver James is out now, published by Unify, an imprint of Unicorn Publishing Group, priced £12.50, available from all good bookshops and online. To find out more about practising breathwork visit www.worldofbreath.com