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Breathing beauty

July 25, 2022 - Everyone is talking about breathwork, but what is it? This newish term means consciously breathing in a certain way for better performance or therapeutic effect. Results can be instant and long-lasting!

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Breathwork is said to affect our physical, emotional, and mental state. Controlling our breath allows our bodies to thrive on higher oxygen levels and better control our exhalation of carbon dioxide.

There are many benefits to any type of breathwork. Here are our top five:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety by calming the nervous system and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system via the vagus nerve. This self-soothing technique can instantly reduce the body’s natural fight-flight-freeze reaction to a stressful situation.
  • Increase physical performance. We all put most of our attention on the activity, be it running, cycling, or skiing, but recovery is key to performing better. How you recover and how fast it happens will impact your next physical exertion. Breathing exercises before and after training, as well as carrying out breathing techniques throughout the day (and night), all impact how well you can perform during intensity. Breathwork can also enhance recovery from illness and injury.
  • Improve focus. Better breathing means more oxygen can reach vital organs like the brain to decrease fatigue and improve focus. It’s as simple as that.
  • Boost positive relationships with yourself and others. We all strive to be the best versions of ourselves, and stress over a sustained period can get in the way of achieving that. Conscious breathing keeps us in the present moment and improves our patience levels by reducing fight-flight-freeze reactions.
  • Enhance sleep. The foundation of good health and wellness is good quality sleep. That does not mean sleeping for a specific amount of time; it means good sleep quality. Nasal breathing has a positive impact on sleep quality. Our Friend of Six Senses and founder of the Oxygen Advantage, Patrick McKeown, says, “the mouth has no place in breathing”. For years, Patrick has treated ‘mouth breathers’ and snorers alike with profound results. Please find out more from Patrick himself in this interview.

We have taken a top tip from an interview with Friends of Six Senses and author of Breathe, James Nestor: “I try to breathe properly. People think I am the best breather since I wrote this book, but I’m not. I have a long way to go. I go on nasal breathing walks daily, which has many benefits.”

Online searches for “breathwork” increased by 600 percent during the pandemic as we focused on breath quality and strengthening our lungs. Yoga is already a big part of wellness at Six Senses, and we have shared the practice of Pranayama with our guests for many years in group classes and one-to-one sessions.

Corporate Yoga Master Dorelal Singh says: “In Sanskrit, ‘prana’ means energy and ‘yama’ means control. Our breath is directly connected to our life force energy. The rhythm of the breath reflects the rhythm of our life, and the entry point to balancing your life rhythm is through breath. Yogis found that by regulating the breath, we can restore equilibrium by better distributing life force energy and experiencing better wellness. We personalize the Pranayama practice depending on how advanced you are in your current rhythm.”

Our personal trainers may also start and finish your PT session with box breathing: a simple technique where you breathe in for the count of four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and hold for four seconds. This is a western approach, but it refocuses the mind in the same way.

Six Senses Spa Ibiza and Six Senses Spa Kaplankaya also offer techniques such as advanced Holotropic breathwork. Originally established in the 1970s, this technique encourages emotional release and enhances spiritual well-being. It involves group guidance with controlled breathing to music.

On average, we breathe over 20,000 times a day. Yet modern-day life has encouraged insufficient breathing and often over breathing. We welcome you to put your best breath forwards and join us in a breathwork session next time you visit our resorts.

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