The power of breath

4 min read

Breathe easy during the frantic Christmas season with tips from breathwork coach Brenda Winkle, who shares simple and free breathing techniques to quickly reduce your stress and anxiety. And relax…

Breathwork heals the body first, then shifts the mind.

TEARS ROLLED ACROSS MY FACE as I inhaled deeply while lying on the grass at a retreat. I had no idea why the breath brought my grief to the surface but it felt so good to release. As abruptly as the tears came up, they stopped before the breathwork session ended. After, I felt energised, confident, grounded, and with more clarity than I’d felt in months. I had no idea breathwork could be so powerful and I wanted more! That’s how I decided to become a trauma-informed breathwork facilitator.

Breathwork is one of the fastest-growing healing techniques around today, probably because it’s accessible to everybody and so impactful. But it’s not a new idea because breathwork has been used throughout history. You can find the words “ruach” (Hebrew for spirit, breath or life) and “prana” (Sanskrit for breath or life force) in some of the most ancient texts in the world. As my mentor, Samantha Skelly of Pause Breathwork (, told me, breathwork reaches to a deep level to clear trauma that has been stuck in your body for decades. It is able to heal emotion that the mind can’t reach.

Audible breathing soothes your nervous system. But you don’t have to breathe hard to get results!


You might wonder how something as ordinary as breathing can be healing? But it was instrumental in processing the grief I experienced when a loved one died and it helped me through the transition of becoming an empty-nester. It’s helped my clients release childhood trauma, navigate challenging relationships, reduce stress and improve health with measurable markers shown, such as blood pressure reduction.

It is a game-changer when it comes to managing stress and releasing trauma. Stress triggers the release of hormones that can wreak havoc on your physical and mental wellbeing if they aren’t brought back into balance. When stressed, your body goes into a stress response commonly known as “fight-or-flight”. This might be the reason you can’t remember a word or don’t stand up for yourself when somebody unfairly criticises you. Breath is an effective way to manage your stress response. Taking a moment to focus on your breath acts as a signal to your nervous system that all is well. Even as little as two minutes of mindful breathing can shift you out of a stress response by calming the production of stress hormones and promoting a sense of ease.

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