When doing breathwork, we often focus on the pauses in our breathing pattern. We practice eliminating them and we also practice lengthening them. By working and playing with the pauses in our breathing we can access powerful inner resources. We can dramatically enhance our creative and athletic abilities, and we can trigger profound improvements in our health and wellbeing.

When we are not consciously controlling it, various chemical triggers control our breathing. The normal physiological breathing pattern is: inhale, exhale, pause… inhale, exhale, pause… inhale, exhale, pause…  This pause after the exhale is very important—necessary in fact—for keeping our poise and grace, and for maintaining normal pH levels and a healthy metabolism.

When we practice “Breath Awareness” or meditation (and everyone with a belly button ought do this on a daily basis!), we can observe and enjoy—as well as support and strengthen—our natural breathing patterns. We can also observe how this vital pause after the exhale can be blocked, cut short, rushed, or otherwise disturbed by a host of things, including our thoughts and feelings, stress and anxiety, physical tension and posture, the foods we eat, the medications we take, and more.

It is important to note that while a pause after the exhale is basically healthy and natural, a pause after the inhale often tells a very different story. In fact, breath-holding at this point is often caused by pain or fear; and it can be a sign of confusion, doubt, resistance, and many other hidden emotional, psychological, or spiritual problems or issues.

There are times when a pause after the inhale is very useful. By consciously holding the breath at this point we can support or empower various physical actions and activities, and we can also do certain types of energy work. However when breath-holding between the inhale and the exhale is chronic, unconscious, or ingrained, it can have some very negative effects on our body’s self-healing powers, it can limit our creative abilities and hinder our performance on many levels.

That’s why in Breathwork we want to be especially conscious of a pause after the inhale, and we want to be alert to it during various activities and exercises. It can inform us of suppressed emotions, it can point to early traumas, and it can help us to identify and release issues such as a lack of confidence or trust, low self-esteem, self-doubt, critical or paralyzing self-talk, and so on.

By the way, an overly prolonged or exaggerated pause after the exhale can also be linked to unconscious fear and negative programming—or even to what Freud called the “unconscious death urge.” It may reflect a tendency to procrastinate in life, and it can be a sign that you are not open to inspiration. The habit of hesitating before you take in the next breath may be causing you to unconsciously miss or avoid some precious opportunities in life.

As children, our energy flowed naturally and spontaneously: we fully and freely expressed our divine nature in each moment. However if this resulted in our being criticized, shamed, or punished, then we may have learned to interrupt the flow of our life force, to block its natural expression and to suppress our natural divinity. We did that by holding our breath.

When we work or play with the pauses in our breathing cycle, we get in touch with our programming and conditioning, we uncover and release various shocks and traumas locked in our system; we eliminate many negative or limiting patterns; and we establish a new way of being in each moment. With breathwork, not only does our breathing become fuller and freer, but our experience of life does too!

Think about it. If you want to stop yourself from saying or doing something, you hold your breath. If you want to stop yourself from laughing or crying, you hold your breath. If you don’t want to be seen or heard, you hold your breath. And you hold your breath exactly at that point between your inhale and your exhale.

One of the core techniques we teach and practice in breathwork is called “Twenty Connected Breaths.” It only takes about 30 seconds. Try it now!

Do twenty conscious breaths in this way: take 4 short or shallow breaths and then 1 long or deep breath… 4 four short—1 long… 4 short—1 long… 4 short—1 long. 20 breaths in all. Take time to notice the feelings and sensations in your body—be aware of your energy—before and after doing the 20 connected breaths.

Bring your inhale and exhale together, merging them smoothly and seamlessly with no pauses or gaps between the breaths. Vary the speed and intensity of the rhythm, as you like. Try doing it in different ways. For example, do 20 connected breaths gently thru your nose, then do 20 connected breaths dynamically thru your mouth.

Leonard Orr invented this conscious breathing exercise, and it is a basic practice in “Rebirthing-Breathwork.” If you have never done a Rebirthing Session, then you are missing out on a life-changing experience—something truly extraordinary, and even miraculous!

And so I urge you to find a good “Rebirther” who can initiate you into this amazing form of breathwork. In fact, you can learn it at any of my upcoming trainings. Check my schedule at www.breathmastery.com. Or if you prefer, you can book a personal guided breathing session. Email me at danbrule1008@gmail.com.

Hope to see you on the path!

Love and blessings to all,


Author's Bio: 

Dan Brulé has studied and practiced breathwork with more than 80,000 people in over 40 countries since 1976. His travel and teaching schedule is posted at www.breathmastery.com.