Do you ever feel like your inner critic constantly interrupts your creative process? If so, you're not alone.
The artist's mind can be a chaotic place, and it's not always easy to stay focused on our work.
Working against deadlines and our inner critic can add to the challenge, interrupting the creative flow that is required to create great art.
The current global climate of the pandemic, rising inflation, and social injustice have made it even harder to let go and allow our intuitive, artistic selves to take over.
This is where breathwork, one of the fastest-growing wellness trends, can come in handy. Breathwork is a simple but powerful practice that can help calm the mind and create space for creativity to flourish.
But why is breathwork so effective
, and what are the health benefits behind this ancient practice?
In this blog post, we will explore 5 reasons why breathwork is beneficial for artists and provide compelling reasons for you to start breathing your stress away!
1. Eases The Fight or Flight Response:
Our nervous system has 2 branches - the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) that gets activated during stressful situations and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) that gets activated when the body feels safe and relaxed.
It can be hard to create art when we're not able to focus because we're worried about our finances, safety, or survival. The reason for this is simple - if the body has to choose between creativity and survival, it's going to choose the latter.
Breathwork is a practice that helps people to control their breathing patterns and, as a result, their state of mind. Slow, deep breathing has been found to help calm the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxing the body after stress.
Breathwork can be very helpful for artists and creatives who are often under pressure to produce new work. Breathwork can help them to relax and recharge so that they can return to their creative endeavors with fresh energy.
2. Integrates Both Brain Hemispheres:
According to Healthline.com, the left brain is more logical, linear, and abstract. On the other hand, our right brain is more visual, imaginative, and intuitive. Furthermore, each nostril corresponds to a different hemisphere of the brain.
What's interesting is that the left nostril activates the right hemisphere of the brain (creative and intuitive), and the right nostril activates the left hemisphere of the brain (logical and linear). Each nostril alternates in dominance throughout the day, making it easier or more difficult to perform certain tasks.
The ancient yogis knew this intuitively and developed certain relaxation techniques to balance both hemispheres of the brain and restore calm when required.
The alternate nostril breathing technique or Nadi shodhana in Sanskrit is one of the most effective methods to reduce stress and allow for clear thinking, which allows for the creative process to unfold.
3. Improves Blood Circulation:
Certain controlled breathing exercises reduce muscle tension, which leads to vasodilation (opening up of the blood vessels). This allows your blood to circulate more freely, leading to lower blood pressure and improved oxygenation of your tissues.
As a result, within a few minutes of deep abdominal breathing, practitioners begin to feel energized and balanced. In addition, better-oxygenated tissues are less likely to experience inflammation or pain, further improving mental clarity and creativity.
4. Increases Energy:
In the human body, energy is produced inside the cellular Mitochondria. To produce energy, the Mitochondria need optimum amounts of oxygen.
Although we have an abundance of oxygen stored in our blood, not all of it gets delivered to our cells.
The Bohr Effect allows us to unload oxygen from the hemoglobin and send it to the mitochondria for energy production.
By slow, conscious breathing, we can increase energy production inside the cellular mitochondria. This can improve our overall energy levels, as well as our ability to focus and concentrate.
In addition, diaphragmatic breathing can also help to clear out energetic blockages and stagnant energy, which can further improve energy levels.
5. Reduces Chronic Pain:
Breathwork helps release endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. These chemicals also help with feelings of deep relaxation and inner peace.
While you might be familiar with the term morphine, which is an opioid painkiller, it can also be produced endogenously (within the body) through breathwork, exercise, laughter, and exercise.
Regular practice of breathwork can help reduce the pain response, allowing you to focus on your creative project and think outside the box.
Alternate Nostril Breathing For Artists:
As discussed earlier, breathwork is a type of meditation that involves controlling the breath to regulate your nervous system. There are many different types of breathing techniques, but one of the most popular is alternate nostril breathing.
This type of breathwork can be done by anyone, and it only takes a few minutes to learn.
● Sit comfortably in a quiet place where no one will disturb you.
● Bring your right hand to your nose and place your thumb on your right nostril.
● With this nostril covered, close your eyes and exhale slowly through your left nostril.
● Once youve exhaled completely, with your thumb on your right nostril, breathe in deeply and fully through your left nostril.
● Now, place your ring finger on your left nostril and lift your thumb from your right nostril.
● Now exhale slowly through your right nostril.
● Once youve exhaled completely, inhale slowly through your right nostril.
● Close your right nostril with your thumb and, once again, release your right ring finger. Breathe out fully and inhale fully from your left nostril.
● Repeat the full process a few more times until the stress response is calmed.
In summary, breathwork is a powerful tool that can help artists to express their creativity in new and exciting ways.
There are several reasons why breathwork can be so helpful for artists. First, certain breathwork techniques help calm the mind and create a sense of focus. This can be incredibly helpful for an artist who wants to avoid distractions and concentrate on their work.
Breathwork practices also help integrate the 2 hemispheres in the brain, which can allow for more inspiration and ideas to flow in.
Finally, breathwork can help to release any emotions or blocks that may be preventing an artist from expressing themselves fully. When an artist can freely express themselves, they can create work that is truly unique and expressive.
Breathwork is a simple and easy way to meditate, and this breathing-based meditation can be done anywhere!
Try a breathwork session and see how it can benefit your artwork.
Aditya Jaykumar Iyer (AJ) is a certified Breathwork instructor and the host & founder of My Seven Chakras with over 6.5 million downloads to date. Aditya has spent the last 8 years conducting interviews with over 500 of the foremost wellness experts and has documented his learnings & discoveries on his blog. You can connect with him on Instagram at @mysevenchakras