Biohacking through Breathwork
by Carla Aspesberger
Let’s jump straight into it and talk about spirituality.
Spiritual? What does this have to do with breathing and biohacking?
More than you might think.
The latin word “Spirare” means to breathe, and it is from this word that the English language originally based the word “spiritual” on.
Regardless of the hype or any attached story to these 2 concepts, I invite you to stay curious and read this with an open mind.
Biohacking can be explained as the biological experimentation done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms. In other words, optimizing the biological system and all functions to higher harmony and improved coherence.
So why do we say the breath can bio-hack the system?
The breath is a unique entry point into the health of our body.
Do you remember anything about your biology class that was about the nervous system?
Please allow me to refresh your memory.
The electrical circuit that is responsible for relaying messages, intelligence, learning, movements, maintaining homeostasis (balance), interpreting sensory information, and many more amazing things can be understood in 2 parts. The central nervous system being the first is located in the brain and spinal cord. Then there is the peripheral nervous system (the second part) which is subdivided into the Somatic and Autonomic Nervous Systems (NS).
Somatic NS: this is the motor neurons that are responsible for sensory awareness and movements. It is responsible for activities like moving your legs and arms, to positioning yourself into a downward-facing dog for example.
Autonomic NS: these neurons are directly communicating with the central nervous system and are connected to all your internal organs. There is an on switch (sympathetic NS) and an off switch (parasympathetic nervous system). I don’t know about you but I remember learning that this is the part of your body you have no control over and that everything happens automatically. It gave me the relief that my heart will automatically beat, and my metabolism is not voluntary. The intelligence of the body also knows when to switch certain functions and systems on and when to switch them off without any need to think about it or even be aware of it, amazing!
I never had an interest to inquire deeper into this until I experienced that these switches were not working optimally in my body. This caused me to swing from feeling depressed to feeling anxious. For almost 6 years I rarely experienced a balanced baseline between these 2 extremes. I worked in the medical industry as a medical representative, so I turned to pharmaceuticals with little success. My nervous system was unregulated which means that my homeostasis was shifting from high to low activation of my peripheral NS. At this point, I reached a major turning point in my life and started inquiring deeper into the biology of the body and mechanics of the mind when I hit rock bottom and experienced a burnout. This is when I discovered something that blew my mind and offered me hope.
The breath is a voluntary entry point into the autonomic nervous system.
The breath is the bridge between voluntary and involuntary systems/ muscles in your body that are inseparable and intertwined with all systems. This means that the breath can happen involuntarily without conscious thought directing it. However, the breath can also be controlled through voluntary intention.
Let me amplify this truly amazing phenomenon. Imagine that all your organs are connected with a string. If one moves, then it pulls all the rest with it without fail. This means, if the breath changes, then it influences all other systems and organs and also vice versa. The body is such an intricate system and advanced technology. It is far ahead of our intellectual understanding.
With this knowledge, we can inquire and witness what happens with the heart rate when the breath increases. We can also notice what happens to the heart rate when we slow down our breath. It has no choice but to follow. It is all one system working their distinct parts. Just like the sun is hot and light. The light and heat are distinct aspects of the sun yet don’t stand separated from the sun. They are one even though these aspects are distinct in oneness.
What does this mean for you?
The breath has the power to influence the involuntary systems of your body. This has the potential to become your medicine. When there is an overload of stress on the body and energy is not flowing with ease through all the organs, then we experience a dis-ease in energy flow, and the connection to homeostasis is shifted. By mimicking a healthy breath (deep, slow, and long), you can then inform and send signals to the rest of the body to follow this energy pattern. Which means that you have access to the control panel of your vehicle. Learning the breath manual gives you access to operate inside your body and mind.
The breath and mind are made of the same source, and we call it prana/chi. The breath is the gross energy, and the mind is the subtle energy, which means that the breath also influences the mind directly.
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you are upset vs calm? Have you ever been in a chaotic moment and your breath was naturally deep and slow? This is something we can mindfully bring to attention to calm down and invoke relaxation in any situation. The breath is a very unique entry point that also makes it the first point of adaptation. The breath mirrors the vibrational frequency. Think of your breath when you are happy, in shock, in awe… this makes it a valuable source to estimate health but also to biohack your system back into optimal health.
Your circumstances are more often out of your control, but you can control how you breathe in response to these moments. This influences the electrical and chemical relationship to the moment. Your quality pattern of breath determines a trauma attachment of a fluid release and flow. As we have discussed, the breath controls the heart rate and blood flow rate, and that influences directly how you feel in a moment but more so, how you perceive a moment.
Breath mechanics comes more harmonious with deep patterns and your thinking becomes clear, effortless, and correct.
When the breath is circular and rhythmical, it invites coherence into all the organs, systems, functions, and processes in the body. This encourages the heart to melt open, which is the cosmic instrument of energy. When it is open, there is direct access to intuition and an extravagant surge of electric and magnetic force / harmonious energy is at your disposal that is far beyond any expected beauty.
“With an electrical component about 60 times greater and an electromagnetic energy field 5000 times greater than the brain’s, the heart has a significant influence on the body down to the cellular level. The brain’s rhythms along with the respiratory and blood pressure rhythms entrain with the heart’s rhythm.” – Psychology today
One of my favourite teachers taught me something special. He said we should treat all guests like God. And the breath is a guest visiting the body. So, when we treat it well it brings with it enormous potential for healing and maximizing our full sovereign potential.
The goal is not to be able to hold your breath for longer or even become a good meditator, but to live a more fulfilling life embodied in our true potential.
I will go into more detail in a next blog about the breath holds where I will share the physical, mental and spiritual aspects and benefits.