Wonders of Breathwork for the body and mind

Breathwork is a breathing exercise that helps its practitioners improve mental, physical and spiritual conditions through active and conscious intent of changing the body’s natural breathing pattern. Although it draws similarities to meditation, it provides its own set of benefits and features unique techniques.

Although breathing is natural and automatic response. It is commonly misconceived that it doesn’t require much attention or effort. However, according to experts, most people are most likely not doing it right. Breathwork corrects the body’s breathing patterns and serves a myriad of benefits to the overall well-being of the body, mind and spirit. 

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Feeling energized

Breathing functions are automatically regulated by the central nervous system. When the body exhales and inhales quickly, as one practises a breathwork exercise, it signals the brain to release endorphins, a chemical in the body that helps the body copy physical pain. 

Lower stress hormones

When under stress, the body releases stress hormones in the body, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which raise blood pressure and glucose levels in the bloodstream to prepare for the body’s “fight-or-flight” mode. Chronic stress can lead to ailments, such as diabetes, high-blood pressure and obesity. Breathwork consciously exercises the mind to communicate with the body and signals it to relax. Actively focusing on deep breaths signals the body to switch from a stress response to a relaxed state, promoting better blood flow, metabolism and a boost in the immune system.

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Improve emotional well-being

Breathwork helps process difficult emotions and assists in coping with anger issues, anxiety and trauma that the mind’s defense mechanisms often use to avoid processing emotional pain. However, building up that negative energy can result in unconscious reactions and behaviours that do not reflect our best selves. 

Detoxify the body

Although breathing is a natural system that functions with little participation of our conscious mind, deep breaths are seemingly unnatural to many people. However, 70 percent of the body’s detoxification is done through breathing while 30 percent is through the bladder and bowel movements. Not breathing deeply results in the body working extra hard to release toxins in the lymphatic organs, such as the kidneys and colon. 

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Higher pain tolerance

Many are familiar with the reactions of stubbing our toe or taking a hard fall, marked by a brief moment of pause and the tendency to hold our breaths. This is the body’s way of reducing pain sensitivity by increasing blood pressure that causes the central nervous system to reduce reactivity. Controlled breathing slows down the body’s heart rate and assists in coping with physical discomfort and in having better focus and control.

Improved athletic performance

Improve athletic performance by deep breathing which helps exercise the abdominal muscles, and better stabilise the spine and pelvis. Working on the core is essential to the stability and power of an athlete, and breathing can improve the endurance level of an athlete.  


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(Image from iLiving Academy)

How is it different from meditation

Although Breathwork exercises draw many similarities to various forms of meditation, it not only observe the mind and body as they actively apply techniques that alter the body’s breathing patterns to serve different needs. For instance, Buteyko Breathing focuses on breathing with a closed mouth to promote carbon dioxide which travels in the blood to the lungs,  while the Wim Hof Method is a popular variation among athletes which involves submerging into an ice bath to improve blood flow and pain management.


Here are a few places to practice Breathwork exercises:

Primal Breathwork specializing in Wim Hof Method to promote balance, control and focus in a fast-paced culture

Location: Various locations

Price: HK$8000 for 10 classes

Contact: brian@primalbw.com


Ikigai provides various Breathwork classes such as Kundalini and Wim Hof Method. The former concentrates on mental awareness while the latter focuses on the physiological aspect of the body.

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui

Price: HK$3,000 for 20 classes

Contact: hello@ikigai.hk


Enhalems offers a guided meditation to emotional clarity and the release of negative suppressed energy built up in the body.

Location: Central

Price: HK$5400 for 30 class

Contact: chill@enhalems.com


iLiving Academy applies scientific understanding of healing into modern living and connects eastern philosophies to western practices. Their Breathwork classes include somatic awareness exercises and the use of singing bowls.

Location: Central

Price: HK$1988 for 5 classes including an introductory class
(To accommodate the needs of students during social distancing measures, Zoom classes are available on donation basis)

Contact: office@iLivingHK.com