The Extraordinary Impacts of Breathwork on the Brain

the impacts of breathwork on the brain and default mode network

Brain Science & Breathwork

Much happens to our bodies and brains during a breathwork session. For example, our blood gets a bit more alkaline due to the deeper, continuous breathing. This has the effect of less activity in a specific part of the brain called the Default Mode Network (DMN). This, in turn, allows us to access unconscious material that is normally inaccessible to us. Below we will explore the aforementioned impacts, as well as a few other notable impacts of breathwork on the brain. 

Breathwork & the Quieting of the Default Mode Network

The Default Mode Network is the part of the brain that is working when we are not focused on a specific task. It is responsible for the mental constructs of self and ego. When this area of the brain is quiet we gain access to the subconscious mind and to unconscious material that we don’t normally have access to. This is really important because our subconscious mind is essentially running our lives without our awareness. Worth noting is that reduced activity in the Default Mode Network also occurs when you take psychedelics. This may explain why breathwork and psychedelics in a therapeutic setting can produce many of the same benefits and effects.

Why Access to the Subconscious Mind in Breathwork is So Beneficial

It’s estimated that our conscious minds account for approximately 5% of our total brain power. Whereas our subconscious minds account for 95%. This is the part of our psyche that is responsible for running our body 24/7 without us thinking about it. And it knows exactly what needs to happen in our body and psyche to move toward health and wholeness. The subconscious mind is usually inaccessible in normal waking consciousness. And yet it is there in the background silently dictating 95% of our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. By gaining access to the unconscious material of the subconscious mind, breathwork offers an incredible opportunity to create deep healing and lasting change. 

Additional Impacts of Breathwork on the Brain

Researchers have discovered that the rhythm of holotropic breathwork (which is based on the same breathing technique that we use at Neurodynamic breathwork), creates electrical activity in the part of the human brain that promotes emotional judgment and memory recall (1). The memory recall that can happen in breathwork is an important element for healing as the rising to the surface of unconscious memories allows for them to be processed and released. Researchers have also found that breathwork can lead to growth in the parts of the brain that are involved in processing sensory information and paying attention (2).

Want to Experience the Extraordinary Impacts of Breathwork on the Brain for Yourself?

We offer 2-hour online breathwork workshops several times throughout the week so that people can take a deep dive into their personal growth with a consistent practice. If you would like to join one of our sessions, and partake in faster, deeper breathing to shut down the default mode network and access your subconscious mind to create lasting change, we invite you to register for free!

Click here to find out more about our online breathwork process.


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