Meditation & Breathwork - Where’s the Difference?
I meditate, so do I need to do breathwork as well? If you ever posed yourself that question (or just general wonder why one would do any of them), here’s your answer - yes!
While breathwork and meditation share some commonalities like having the effect of “spiritual well-being” (according to the International Breathwork Foundation), they differ in quite some significant aspects.
First, time. The physiological and psychological benefits of breathwork can usually be felt instantly, while meditation takes months, if not years, of practice.
Second, activity. Breathwork is an active process, where you follow a variety of breathing exercises. Such exercises are usually changes in your breathing pattern such as the ratio of inhaling and exhaling. Actively focusing on their breathing and influencing the breathing pattern often helps people to redirect their attention away from their thoughts and help calm the mind. Meditation in contrast is a passive process, where beginners often struggle with what they should do (or don’t do) and easily feel overwhelmed with not being able to control their inner monologue.
Third, effects. Breathwork shares psychological effects such as cultivating self-awareness or experiencing deep feelings of calmness with meditation. But as an add-on, breathwork directly taps into the physiology of our body. Breathing is a physiological process that is tightly connected to our nervous system, our inner organs like the lungs or the heart, and our whole system. By changing your breathing, immediate effects can be achieved. An impressive example is the mechanical connection between breathing and blood pressure - when inhaling, the lungs expand, exert pressure on the heart and the blood pressure rises. During exhalation, the lungs contract, reducing the pressure on the heart and as a consequence, blood pressure decreases. A simple way to reduce blood pressure is thus to shorten the inhale and lengthen the exhale.
So the next time you’re asking yourself whether meditation and breathwork exclude each other, you can confidently say that both have their merit and especially breathwork should definitely be considered integrating into your (daily) life to live a happier, healthier, and longer life!
For getting more information on different breathing exercises and their effects, visit our other blogs. For personalized guided breathing exercises, try out the Chojuu app.
Live better - breath by breath.