What is breathwork?
Breathwork is intentionally changing your breathing pattern. The various breathwork modalities all involve breathing consciously and systematically. When working with sexual practices, from simple pelvic floor exercises to exploring higher orgasmic states, breathwork is vital.
You can think of your breath as a way to stoke your sexual fire. When done right, breathwork can elevate as well as ground energy. There is no point feeling elevated or “high” when the body is left behind, right. It becomes less safe as there is less connection to sensation, such as pressure or friction. For example, when your pussy feels sore the next day after sex, it may indicate you were not present to your bodies need for more lube.
Conversely, without an increase in breath (and movement), the ability to build the energy necessary to orgasm is restricted. Think of it as a runner who can only go as far as their resting breath rate can take them… it would be a relaxing walk at best.
Who else uses breathwork?
Many spiritual traditions use various breathwork forms, from the shamans to the Taoists and Buddhists. Why, you ask? Breathwork meditations are a fantastic way to increase presence.
Yoga has an entire limb of knowledge dedicated to breathwork called pranayama. Breathing acts as a link between our cognitive states and physical functioning (Sovik, 2000). The primary purpose is to increase awareness.
Another type of breathwork is the Wim Hof Method. It involves a mix of breathwork, cold therapy, and yoga poses (Allen, 2018). The high level of breath control allowed his 2015 team to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in record time – wearing only shorts. An inspiring outcome based on a breath practice.
Why do I use breathwork in sex coaching?
Putting my fantasies of crawling naked up certain mountains aside…
I have observed how breathwork and sexual practice are the keys to greater pleasure.
Primarily breathwork aids to:
1. Increase presence within the body
2. Increase energy when needed (consciously)
3. Increase relaxation when needed (consciously)
The different practices taught in my coaching sessions generally include breathing to increase energy (upregulated) and induce relaxation (downregulated).
As a somatic sexologist, I often provide simple breathwork meditations to “install” the work we do together in session. Working with the body in this way helps activate and integrate the journey towards your desired goals. The body is the home of our actions towards these goals.
“ Knowledge is potential, action is power” Tony Robbins
Why is Breathwork Awesome?
It is one of the bodily few systems which can function both consciously and unconsciously. As in, we can voluntarily choose to breathe (woohoo!), and we can also go to sleep and not have to think about taking our next breath (phew!).
GEEK MOMENT: Everyday unconscious breathing, which is automatic, involuntary and continuous, is from an area of the brain called the medulla oblongata (fun to say with a deep professor voice). Whereas conscious and voluntary breathing connects to the motor cortex. Interestingly, when the fight, flight, or freeze response is triggered, unconscious breathing takes over!!!
So does that take ten deep breath thing work? Yes, if a person is aware of feeling stressed, they can focus on their breathing. It helps a person switch out of the fight, flight, or freeze response.
Pretty remarkable, huh? Our bodies are amazing!
What is healthy breathing?
Healthy breathing looks different in different situations.
For everyday non-strenuous activity, generally involves:
- Breathing through the nose in a rhythmic way
- There is a natural micro pause after exhalation (some yogic traditions recommend no break and opt for a continuous breath).
- The breath works with the diaphragm
- Slow (between 8-12 breaths per minute)
- Low Volume
- It helps maintains a proper CO2/O2 balance
What Type Of Breathing Inhibits Pleasure?
Some people can get tenser when they become sexually aroused.
It can create shallow breathing or create that horny-red-faced-sweaty-hold-your-breath look. I have seen this in clients typically leading up to and at ejaculation.
This is quite different from “ The Big Draw” breathing method, which increases a flood of energy through the entire body at orgasm.
Why Do My Hands Cramp Up Into Stiff Claws?
Hyperventilating can cause a significant decrease in CO2 in the body. The condition is called Tetany and often happens when there is too much focus or force on the exhalation. The tingling sensation is caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the brain (Healthline, 2019).
So, contrary to what most “Tantra” teachers or “breathwork” experts suggest, it is not “stuck” energy – its constricted flow!
The best way to prevent Tetany is to allow the breath to “let go” or “fall out” from your mouth without force.
Allen, J. J. (2018) Characteristics of Users and Reported Effects of the Wim Hof Method: A Mixed-Methods Study. Retrieved from https://essay.utwente.nl/76839/1/WHM%20THESIS%20FINALEST.pdf
Healthline (2019). What to Know About Hyperventilation: Causes and Treatments. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperventilation
Sovik, R. (2000). The science of breathing – The yogic view. Progress in Brain Research, 122 (Chapter 34), 491-505. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6123(08)62159-7