How to Get Started with Breathwork – a Beginners Guide

Get Started with Breathwork

Looking for a bit more zen in your life? Need a mental spa day? Want to learn how breathwork can help you exhale your worries away? 

Well, it’s time to uncover the full spectrum of what breathwork has to offer and learn how simple, accessible tools and breathing techniques can help you master your body and mind, and ultimately put you back in the driver’s seat of your life.

Whether you’re looking to dial things up or dial them down, there’s a simple, natural, and effective breathwork technique that’s going to work for you. 

So, get ready to take a deep dive into the fascinating world of breathwork. We are going to explore everything you need to know to get started, including some simple breathing techniques you can use right away. 

It’s time to take a deep breath because you’re in for a wild ride…why wait any longer to bring the benefits of conscious breathing into your life! 

Mastery of Your Experience

By using your breath consciously, you can gain mastery over your experience! How would you like to feel calmer, more positive, and more grounded in your emotions?  

Would you benefit from accessing fresh perspectives and from being able to respond, rather than react to situations that arise? How does using your breath to hone your focus and increase your mental clarity sound? Improving sports performance? Or, breathing yourself into a chilled-out state where you naturally release unwanted stress and tension? 

Breathwork offers these plus so many other opportunities including consciously processing and releasing old traumas, boosting your immune system, generating more positivity and energy to burn, increasing understanding and cognition, reversing dis-ease, living longer, entering altered states of consciousness…and that’s not all, list goes on! 

It’s easy to see why breathwork has been the focus of new scientific research and a great deal of media hype over the past few years. There are just so many incredible health-generating benefits and reasons to tune in to your breath…what’s not to love?! 

We’ll explore some of the main zen-inducing breathwork techniques later in this article.

8 Great Reasons to Get Started With Breathwork

With breathwork, you can: 
  1. Break free from stress and anxiety
  2. Create and experience profound states of relaxation and calm on demand
  3. Release repressed emotions from your body (that can otherwise have a negative impact on your health!)
  4. Make better decisions and life choices in a clearer and more confident way
  5. Erase those negative ‘mental tapes’ that might be holding you back in life
  6. Find more flow and connect with your authentic self
  7. Achieve greater balance, mental clarity, and peace – whenever and wherever
  8. Tap into enhanced creativity and insights

So, What is Breathwork?

Breathwork refers to a vast range of breathing techniques and practices from a range of diverse traditions, from those with ancient origins  – think Pranayama from the Yogic traditions, and Qigong –  all the way through to more modern, styles like Breakthrough Breathwork, the Wim Hof Method, Buteyko and  Holotropic Breathwork. 

Breathwork techniques all have one thing in common; they are here to help you tap into the incredible potential of your breath. 

All breathwork practices, no matter how varied they are, aim to bring more conscious awareness to breathing patterns and habits. Harnessing the power of breathing well is a pathway to cultivating harmony within, connecting breath to body and spirit.

No One Size Fits All

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to breathwork. The applications and benefits of each style vary. Every technique has its own history, roots and foundations

Some styles focus on slow, intentional breathing to promote relaxation and stress relief, while others incorporate dynamic movements and rapid breathing to help people break through old patterns, induce altered states of consciousness, or boost mental focus, clarity and energy.

One thing’s for sure though, when you begin to use breathing techniques to consciously tune into and modify your breath, you’re creating an opportunity to work alchemical magic on your body and mind – turning the 20,000 times that you breathe in and out every day into potent medicine for your entire system

Think of breathwork as your very own ‘off switch’ to stress and chaos, because breathing techniques can very quickly help move your body into a more relaxed and stress-free state. Or alternatively, as a magical resource, you can use it to dial up your energy and focus anywhere, anytime, within minutes…no caffeine, drugs or stimulants are required.

There’s a breathwork technique to suit almost every situation you may find yourself in. Whether you’re drawn to the powerful rhythmic patterns of  Breakthrough Breathwork or the gentle flow of Qigong breathing, there’s a method out there to suit every preference and purpose.

Relaxing Techniques

Breathwork techniques that switch on the Relaxation Response can evoke a sense of slowing down, a feeling of greater spaciousness, and ‘calm abiding’. 

Breathing slowly, deeply and diaphragmatically releases endorphins, your feel-good hormones which help you feel better. So, it’s little surprise these techniques are proving so beneficial in the treatment of stress-related conditions like anxiety and PTSD.

These stress-busting techniques, which work their magic through the parasympathetic nervous system, can bring about a much-needed change in perspective as a bonus result, because of the way they positively alter brain chemistry, allowing us to see things more clearly, and enabling better decision-making from a ‘whole brain response’.

Energising Techniques

On the other end of the breathwork pendulum, are the dynamic breathing techniques like Breakthrough Breathwork and the Wim Hof Method which work on the sympathetic nervous system. These can be used to boost mental clarity, focus, concentration and energy levels on demand. These techniques can also help to free us of stuck or stagnant emotions, and old traumas, assisting them to be processed and released.

Consciousness Altering Techniques

Maybe you’ve heard you can “Get high on your own supply”? Well, that is also a possibility. Reaching altered states of consciousness without drugs, and plant medicines like Ayahuasca is possible through breathwork.

Breathwork allows us to access the DMT within our bodies – all of our cells contain DMT. Holotropic Breathwork is one style which evolved as a method to access profound realms of the superconscious mind for therapeutic and spiritual exploration.

What Are The Main Benefits Of Breathwork?

For centuries, ancient healing traditions like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine have been helping people benefit from the power of breathwork. They’ve been using conscious breathing techniques to dial down stress levels and bring some much-needed balance into people’s lives. This stress-reducing capacity is one of the primary benefits of having a breathwork practice. 

You see, our brains have a tendency to go into overdrive, doing the mental equivalent of juggling flaming torches while riding a unicycle. All that worrying about the past and the stress that’s generated by ruminating about the future. It’s like hitting the panic button on our stress hormones, which can wreak havoc on our bodies in the long run. 

Stress can cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression, while also contributing to physical ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and digestive problems. Additionally, chronic stress weakens the immune system, disrupts sleep, exacerbates pain conditions, and accelerates ageing, as well as reducing life span. It’s like inviting a whole circus of health issues to set up camp in your body including:


Breathwork offers you a way to hit the pause button on stress and bring your mind back to the present moment. It’s like giving your brain a much-needed vacation to a tropical island.

Most of us are Dysfunctional Breathers

Most of us rarely give breathing a second thought. Our habit of breathing mindlessly and simply not paying any attention to our breathing has a lot to do with why 80% of us are terrible breathers – and why we suffer as a result from such a vast array of breathing-related health issues which include:

  1. Anxiety and Stress: Shallow breathing can contribute to heightened anxiety and stress levels, creating a downward spiral. 
  1. Poor Sleep: Irregular breathing patterns can disrupt sleep quality and lead to sleep disorders.
  1. High Blood Pressure: Improper breathing can elevate blood pressure over time.
  1. Digestive Issues: Dysfunctional breathing may impair digestion and contribute to gastrointestinal problems.
  1. Headaches: Inadequate oxygen intake can trigger headaches and migraines.
  1. Fatigue: Poor breathing habits can lead to decreased energy levels and overall fatigue.
  1. Muscle Tension: Improper breathing techniques can cause muscle tension and stiffness.
  1. Weakened Immune System: Shallow breathing may compromise the immune system’s ability to function optimally.
  1. Poor Posture: Dysfunctional breathing patterns can contribute to poor posture and musculoskeletal imbalances.
  1. Reduced Cognitive Function: Inadequate oxygenation of the brain due to dysfunctional breathing can impair cognitive function and focus.


Changing the way we breathe through breathwork can reverse and eliminate many of the problems that are caused by poor breathing habits in the first place. 

The Best Breathwork Techniques for Beginners

diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing

When you practise diaphragmatic breathing, you’re basically giving your diaphragm, a powerhouse muscle near your lungs, a good workout. Also known as belly breathing, it’s been proven to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate as well as release endorphins, which is awesome news. 

But here’s the best part: anyone can do it, it’s the perfect starting point for breathwork newbies. You can do it sitting, lying down, and you might even be able to do it standing on your head if you are super clever. 

Just focus on your belly gently rising with each inhale and falling with each exhale. It’s like giving yourself a mini-vacation from stress anytime, anywhere. So, why not give it a shot? Your body will thank you for it!

When to try it: Anytime, anywhere. Whenever you notice your mind becoming busy, you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and no one needs to know you’re even doing it! 

box breathing

Box Breathing

Box breathing is the ‘go-to’ chillout breathing technique, straight from the relaxation playbook. Picture it like a four-sided box: you breathe in for four counts, hold it for four counts, exhale for four counts, and then hold your breath again for another four counts. The counting is like a meditation that helps calm your nerves and keeps you grounded in the now.

It’s a great way to tune out the noise of the world and tune into your body. And the best part? You can use it anytime, anywhere! 

When to try it: Feeling frazzled at your desk? Box breathe. Someone cuts you in line at the coffee shop? Box breathe. It’s like your secret weapon for instant calm vibes, ready to roll whenever you need it most.


4-7-8 Breathing

The 4-7-8 breathing trick is your ticket to relaxation and a good night’s sleep, whether you’re lounging or lying down. Just follow the numbers: breathe in for four, hold for seven, and exhale for eight. It’s great for shifting your focus away from worries and pesky thoughts.

When to try it: Forget counting sheep – this technique is your new best friend at bedtime, proven to ease your mind, lower anxiety, and dial down your heart rate and blood pressure for a solid night’s sleep.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Also known as channel-clearing breath in yoga, alternate nostril breathing or Nadī Shodhana has been hailed for its ability to balance energy flow with studies suggesting it can enhance focus and energy levels, leaving you both calm and invigorated. 

You simply breathe in through one nostril and out through the other, alternating between them. It might take a few tries to get it flowing, but once you do, it’s a game-changer for relaxation. 

When to try it: Feeling overwhelmed at work or before a big presentation? Give it a whirl to clear your mind and amp up your confidence.

pursed lip breathing

Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing is a simple technique to slow down your breathing and ease stress levels. Just pucker up your lips, like you’re about to blow a kiss, then take slow and full inhales through your nose and exhale gently through pursed lips. 

While it’s particularly beneficial for folks with lung issues like asthma or pulmonary fibrosis, anyone can give it a shot. 

When to try it: Anytime you feel you need to calm your mind and relax quickly. It’s also handy for extending your exhales, like in the 4-7-8 breath exercise.

holotropic breathing

Holotropic Breathing

Holotropic breathing involves rapid, controlled breathing to induce an altered state of consciousness, which can aid in managing mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. 

It’s typically utilised as a therapy under the guidance of a trained facilitator to address trauma. 

When to try it: If you’re new to breathwork, consider exploring other techniques on this list and discussing holotropic breathwork with your mental health provider for guidance.

lions breath

Lion’s Breath

While research on lion’s breath, aka simha pranayama, is sparse, it’s believed to ease anxiety and promote calmness. Picture yourself as a carefree lion letting out a big “haaaa” as you exhale. It’s not quite a roar, but more of a yogic interpretation of one. 

When to try it: Feeling jittery before a social event? Sneak off for a few rounds of this jungle-inspired breathing to reclaim your inner lion and ease those nerves.

Breakthrough Breathwork

Breakthrough Breathwork is an extraordinary experience where you are guided through a combination of breathing techniques to achieve just what the name suggests – an emotional breakthrough. In breakthrough breathwork workshops, your breath becomes a transformative tool, a sledgehammer that can break the old emotional blocks into fragments, liberating you from their weight.

Imagine the sensation of cracking open those emotional barriers, feeling the rush of liberation as you dissolve the frozen emotions that have held you captive for so long.

When to try it: When you feel the call to be free from emotional blocks and barriers that are holding you back in life. Try it anytime via a live workshop like these ones here.

Tips For Getting Started With Breathwork

Here are some handy tips to kickstart your practice:

Seek serenity

Although breathwork can be done anywhere, finding a tranquil space can amplify its effects. Begin by settling into a peaceful environment, especially during your initial sessions.

Embrace wandering thoughts

Don’t fret over quieting your mind entirely. Allow your thoughts to roam freely during breathwork, and simply observe when your mind starts to wander.

Choose a focal point

Pick a word or mantra to centre your focus while breathing. Revisiting this anchor aids in rewiring your nervous system and fostering new habits.

Commit to consistency

Dedicate 5 to 10 minutes daily to breathwork. Regular practice lays the foundation for relaxation and lasting benefits.

Join a Class

Be guided through the initial stages of setting up your breathwork practice with like-minded people. See the resources below.

Top 5 Classes for Beginners

If you’re curious to experience the benefits these FREE trainings are a  great place to start:

  1. FREE 7-day breathwork program
  2. FREE 21-Day Master Your Breath Programme 
  3. FREE Breathwork Masterclass
  4. FREE Live Virtual Breathwork Masterclass
  5. Breakthrough Breathwork Experience

Unlock the benefits of breathwork for yourself.

It’s time for you to take advantage of breathwork’s benefits yourself. Integrating breathwork practices into your everyday routine can grant you the ability to command your physical well-being.

Yet, embarking on this journey alone may be difficult. Explore the art of breathwork with our skilled instructors at Breathless Expeditions.

Joining our breathwork sessions offers personalised instruction and continuous encouragement as you progress towards enhancing your respiratory wellness.

For further information on breathwork training and workshops in your vicinity, click here or enrol in the complimentary 21-Day Master Your Breath Program offered here at Breathless Expeditions.

Johannes’s inspiring life journey is punctuated by seeking the positives in every situation, a thirst for self-discovery and a love for unconventional experiences. Despite a challenging childhood, he discovered something unexpected that would alter the direction of his life forever – controlled breathing. Breathwork immediately resonated with Johannes, and he relentlessly cultivated knowledge on the subject from brilliant minds such as Wim Hof, Laird Hamilton etc and acquired more than ten breathwork certifications. His holistic wellness brand, Breathless Expeditions, has led the breathwork movement in Australia and inspired thousands of people across the globe since 2018. With world-renowned clientele such as David Goggins, Ludovico Einaudi, A-League Sports Teams, and some of Australia’s largest companies including PwC’s The Outside event flipping professional development, team building and life reslience experiences on its head, the future is brighter than ever for Johannes and Breathless. For additional inspiration visit his youtube channel.

Breathless Journal