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How to know if breathwork is right for you

Mashable: “Breathwork tutorials are popular on social media, but experts say beginners should be cautious. Breathwork seems like one of those self-help techniques that you could easily learn on social media. After all, there are countless tutorials on YouTube and TikTok, along with numerous testimonials on Reddit. And anyway, could it really be that difficult to consciously change your breathing pattern to promote stress relief and relaxation, which breathwork practices promise to do? As it turns out, experts say learning breathwork as a beginner is harder than most understand. That’s partly because many people are accustomed to drawing short breaths from their chest, rather than inhaling deeply from their abdomen. Altering this pattern can be challenging, as it requires an awareness that many people don’t possess, through no fault of their own. The body’s reflexes are powerful; it’s easy to take breathing for granted. But there are also dangers to practicing breathwork without proper guidance and support. For those who’ve experienced severe anxiety or trauma, focusing on the breath can trigger intense discomfort and distress. Some people find that the stillness of breathwork can surface painful memories, or rapidly put them in touch with emotions or physical sensations they’ve suppressed…Instead of looking to online breathwork tutorials, Cator and other experts say curious beginners should seek out a trained, trauma-informed practitioner in their local community. Specifically, she recommends looking for practitioners whose trauma-informed approach is connected to an understanding of social justice issues. This is particularly important given that the wellness world has not been immune to the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories…”

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