Most of us have experienced a time in our lives when breathing feels like a struggle. It could be caused by anxiety and stress, a long workout, or sickness. And while the fundamental skill of breathing may be an automatic response, there are techniques and ways to improve breath work and help alleviate stress, improve endurance, and even help with the quality of sleep.
That’s where breathing focused apps like Breathwrk come into the picture. During R29’s October 13 Twitch stream, Breathwrk’s own Davi Brown sat down with Entertainment Director and host Melissah Yang to talk about discovering and improving how we breathe.
For those who may not have heard of the app, Brown describes Breathwrk as a tool to help “make simple and functional breathing exercises,” adding that the idea was first formed at the end of 2019 at a time when “there wasn’t an app for that” specific need.
“Starting at foundation practices, like nose breathing and using your diaphragm is a great first step in understanding mechanics, discovering if you're breathing correctly or not.” For Brown, having an awareness of the basic breathing techniques is the most important step in learning how to really master the skill.
“Visuals, sounds and vibrations” play a key role in helping “to induce the state and get where you want to go, feel what you want to feel,” explained the breath work guru on R29’s Twitch Stream.
Brown first began sharing her knowledge of breath work on TikTok. Roughly six months after the Breathwrk app was first created in 2019, the co-founders reached out to Brown because of her TikTok presence. The Breathwrk TikTok account now has over 3.5 million subscribers.
“It was like a new era of how I thought people were connected and so I started posting breathing answers out there and the co-founders reached out. So that's why I came on and then I started talking with them, building exercises and building concepts.”
Breathwrk includes smaller, quicker exercises for users to dip in and out of throughout the day as they please while the app also includes classes — lead by teachers, a range of teachers and industry professionals — that last roughly 10 minutes.
Some of the breathing techniques Brown singles out include focusing on extending your exhale breath, nasal breathing, and slowing the breath down through specific and deliberate pauses.
“I love how you break it down for different needs,” added Yang during the R29 Twitch stream. “For example, I need to relax, I need to be present, I need to stay calm at work.”
“I feel like with breath work, that is something that we are already doing on the regular. It’s not like an extra step or extra thing to take on in order to incorporate it into your daily life.”
The Breathwrk team have adopted their techniques from ones used by psychologists, Zen masters, Navy SEALs, Olympic athletes, and more to help create a program that caters to all. Forming a basic understanding of how breathing works is the first — and best — step to mastering breathwork. Something as simple as “just inhaling for four seconds and humming for seven seconds” can go a long way, says Brown. This small shift helps “really extend out the rapid breaths'' and stabilize breathing.
And while the Breathwrk team might have started out at a time when the industry was just emerging, the meditation and breath control market is now booming across the globe. According to research from Data Bridge Market Research, the market is expected to grow four times in size between the years 2022 and 2029.
For those who find that they could use some added guidance when it comes to breathing, the Breathwrk app is currently available on the App Store and Google Play.