Breathwork for Relief From Cultural Stress 

February is Black History Month and we have the opportunity to look at the many ways we can celebrate Black History here in the United States.  Most of us know that one of the ways we can celebrate Black history is to learn more about the history of Black people in America and to educate ourselves and others about the accomplishments of Black Americans as we celebrate the history.  We can also support Black-owned businesses as part of our efforts to celebrate and honor Black history.

In a recent trend, many yoga teachers have been celebrating Black history in yoga classes by theming the yoga class around Black history.  Theming a yoga class can include telling stories throughout the yoga class, incorporating specific playlists with songs that have been chosen to support the theme and even choosing poses that tell a story.  In addition to yoga poses, many yoga classes include breathwork practices that can also be centered around a specific intention.

The internet has been exploding with new breathwork techniques that are designed to provide relief from all forms of stress, including cultural stress.  Systemic issues that have long haunted Americans have caused stress that is specific to Black Americans, and these breathwork practices have been specifically curated to target that stress.  Through long inhales and longer exhales, this type of ethnic based anxiety can be soothed.  This leaves many people interested in becoming certified in breathwork as they search for the best breathwork training online.

The benefits of breathwork have been proven in research.  Breathwork can be helpful in balancing blood pressure, improving sleep quality and increasing the amount of time spent in deep sleep, reducing post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and other symptoms of trauma, increasing respiratory function, boosting the immune system and releasing stress hormones in the body.  These are benefits that are scientifically supported as they have been tested and shown to exist time and time again in medical research studies.

Some of the specific benefits of breathwork are important for people who have experienced trauma that stems from culturally based stress.  For example, the fact that breathwork can decrease symptoms of trauma is monumental in decreasing the symptoms of cultural stress.  Also the fact that breathwork is helpful in releasing stress hormones in the body is an important piece of combating this specific type of anxiety, stress and depression that stems from ethnic based trauma.

Ethnic and cultural stress stems from going through traumatic episodes that happen because of someone’s ethnicity or culture.  Trauma is less about what actually happens and more about the perceived threat of the person who experienced the trauma.  When someone is afraid, their fight or flight stress response system kicks in and their mind and body prepare to either run from the stressor or to battle the stressor.  Going through this stress response system repeatedly can cause trauma to the mind and body.  When that trauma is caused by racially based issues, there is a need for healing and breathwork is able to provide that type of healing.

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