Conscious breathing

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Conscious breathing is an umbrella term for methods that direct awareness to the breath. These methods may have the goal of improving breathing, or the primary goal can be to build mindfulness. Human respiration is controlled consciously or unconsciously. Conscious breathing can aid in stress reduction, improving breath-related conditions.

Training methods[edit]

  • Pranayama is part of the Yoga tradition and mainly deals with exercises, such as prolonging in- and outbreaths, holding pauses on the in- or outbreath or both, alternate nostril breathing, or breathing with the glottis slightly engaged etc.
  • The Buteyko method focuses on nasal breathing, relaxation and reduced breathing. These techniques provide the lungs with more NO and thus dilate the airways and should prevent the excessive exhalation of CO2 and thus improve oxygen metabolism.
  • Coherent Breathing is a method that involves breathing at the rate of five breaths per minute with equal periods of inhalation and exhalation and conscious relaxation of anatomical zones.[1][2][3]



Conscious breathing in meditation usually does not change the depth or rhythm of breathing, but uses breathing as an anchor for concentration and awareness.[citation needed]

Mindfulness and Awareness Trainings use conscious breathing for training awareness and body consciousness.[citation needed]

Vipassana Meditation focuses on breathing in and around the nose to calm the mind (anapanasati).[4]

Psychology and psycho-therapy[edit]

Many breathwork methods claim that breathing can be used to access nonverbal memories.

Rebirthing uses conscious breathing to purge repressed birth memories and traumatic childhood memories.[5]

Holotropic Breathing was developed by Stanislav Grof and uses deepened breathing to allow access to non-ordinary states of consciousness.[6]

Transformational Breath uses a full relaxed breath that originates in the lower abdomen and repeats inhalation and exhalation without pausing. It integrates other healing modalities and breath analysis. A key feature is intensive personal coaching and the use of 'bodymapping' (acupressure points).[7]

Integrative Breathing combines specific benefits of various schools of conscious breathing according to the needs of clients.[8][9]

Research considers drug abuse disorders,[10] post traumatic stress disorder,[11] alcoholism and smoking.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilfried Ehrmann: Coherent Breathing. Tao 2016 ISBN 978-3-96051-538-8
  2. ^ "Learn this simple breathing technique to calm your mind in minutes". The Independent. 2018-03-16. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  3. ^ Alderman, Lesley (2016-11-09). "Breathe. Exhale. Repeat: The Benefits of Controlled Breathing". The New York Times. Global Internet. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  4. ^ William Hart: The Art of Living. Vipassana meditation. HarperOne 2009, ISBN 978-0060637248
  5. ^ Leonard Orr: Rebirthing in the New Age. Trafford. ISBN 978-1425114169
  6. ^ Stanislav Grof: Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy. Excelsior. ISBN 978-1438433943
  7. ^ Judith Kravitz: Breathe Deep Laugh Loudly. The Joy of Transformational Breathing. Free Press Ink 1999 ISBN 978-1929271016
  8. ^ Wilfried Ehrmann: Handbuch der Atemarbeit. Param 2004, ISBN 3887550501
  9. ^ Tilke Platteel-Deur: The Art of Integrative Therapy, Bookrix 2014
  10. ^ Brewerton, Timothy D.; Eyerman, James E.; Cappetta, Pamela; Mithoefer, Michael C. (2011). "Long-Term Abstinence Following Holotropic Breathwork as Adjunctive Treatment of Substance Use Disorders and Related Psychiatric Comorbidity". International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 10 (3): 453–459. doi:10.1007/s11469-011-9352-3. S2CID 32003053.
  11. ^ Descilo, T; Vedamurtachar, A; Gerbarg, PL; Nagaraja, D; Gangadhar, BN; Damodaran, B; Adelson, B; Braslow, LH; Marcus, S; Brown, RP (2010). "Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami". Acta Psychiatr Scand. 121 (4): 289–300. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01466.x. PMID 19694633. S2CID 6209543.
  12. ^ McClernon, F.Joseph; Westman, Eric C.; Rose, Jed E. (2004-06-01). "The effects of controlled deep breathing on smoking withdrawal symptoms in dependent smokers". Addictive Behaviors. 29 (4): 765–772. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2004.02.005. ISSN 0306-4603. PMID 15135559.