Breathwork has changed my life. That might be a profound statement, but it’s completely true. I had been meditating for years, which helped me to overcome chronic anxiety and calm my monkey mind but the power of breath work took things to a whole new level and I’m so happy and excited to be able to introduce to you Niraj Naik who made this all possible through his Breathwork for Life MindValley Program.
Niraj is the Creator and Founder of SOMA Breath which I have mentioned beforehand in episodes, and in this episode takes us on a deep dive into the world of breath work and shares the incredible potential it holds for personal transformation. Niraj starts by sharing the principle of breath retention in our breath work practices and why it has so many profound effects on our physical and mental well-being.
He states that by engaging in breath holds, we can tap into the power of intermittent hypoxia, a state of lower-than-normal oxygen levels in the bloodstream, which triggers a cascade of benefits. Niraj explains that this state stimulates the production of red blood cells, enhances blood flow to vital organs like the brain and heart, and awakens dormant abilities of the mind. This in itself, is mind-blowing and is just the start of what breath work can do for us and the incredible powers it holds.
One of those powers is being able to access altered states of consciousness through breath holds and rhythmic breathing techniques, as we transcend our everyday awareness and be able to tap into a realm of heightened creativity, concentration, and cognitive function. Niraj draws parallels between the effects of breath work and psychedelic substances, highlighting their ability to temporarily suspend the default mode network of the brain and expand our sense of self. You can either do psychedelic substances or do breath work without any of the nasty side effects.
We move on to discussing the importance of timing when it comes to breathwork. Niraj suggests that breath work in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach, can yield optimal results. This is due to the phenomenon of morning hyperventilation, which often occurs between 4 and 7 am and can be corrected by harmonising our breath and oxygen levels upon waking up in the morning. Niraj describes the morning as an ideal time to reset our physiology and set a positive tone for the day ahead.
In Breathwork for Life, Niraj mentions the power of combining breathwork and saunas so seeing as I had this incredible opportunity of speaking with him I had to ask about this powerful combination. He explained that sauna sessions, when combined with specific breathwork techniques, can stimulate the release of stem cells in the body, promoting healing and rejuvenation. He went on to explain that by alternating between intense heat and cold, with breath work we can awaken our body’s natural healing mechanisms and tap into profound states of meditation.
Throughout our conversation, Niraj emphasises the unique nature of us as humans and to honour our differences in our breathwork journey. He highlights the transformative effects that consistent practice can have on our lives whether it’s clearing nasal congestion, reducing stress, improving sleep, or enhancing focus and creativity, breath work serves as a tool for holistic well-being that we can all do by learning how to harness the power of the breath!
We end the episode, by touching on how to further explore the world of breathwork and delve deeper into the Ayurvedic system, which is another holistic tool that includes, breathwork and so much more. Niraj suggests visiting the SOMA Breath website, where comprehensive courses and resources are available. He also recommends the work of Dr. David Frawley, a renowned expert in Ayurveda, as a valuable resource for those seeking in-depth knowledge and guidance.
Overall, Niraj leaves us with a powerful reminder: our breath is not only a reflection of our emotions and inner world but also a tool to regulate and transform them. We can do so by learning how to breathe and harnessing the power of our breath into our daily lives which will help us to unlock our inner potential, achieve optimal health, and lead us on a journey of self-discovery and growth.