Meditation and mindfulness are both great ways of improving overall well-being, and one specific form that's worth trying is breathwork—consciously changing your breathing patterns. One Deep Breath is an app that guides you through these breathing techniques and patterns. Here's how to use the app's research-backed breathing patterns and three-minute sessions to tackle stress and get your daily dose of mindfulness.
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What Is Breathwork?
Breathwork includes different types of breathing techniques and patterns. Most kinds of emotional or physical stress make breathing more shallow, so focused deep breathing can help you manage the effects of stress. A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that slow breathing techniques improved alertness, decreased mental stress, and reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and anger.
The One Deep Breath app teaches you several breathing patterns, such as box breathing—a popular technique used by US Navy SEALs. Explore more of the app's features and benefits as you decide whether it's worth a subscription.
Using One Deep Breath for Better Health
One Deep Breath has a range of tools that can help your mental and physical health. Once you log in, the dashboard displays the basics of breathwork to help you get started. The breathwork essentials exercises focus on four main areas: relaxation, improving focus, energy, and sleep.
You can view your streaks and other breathwork benchmarks in the dashboard. Another useful feature of the app is its Breath Health test. This test is based on the Buteyko breathing technique. Through this test, you can get an approximate measure of your carbon dioxide (CO2) tolerance, which helps determine how well your body handles stress.
To begin the test, head over to the Breath Health tab from the dashboard or your profile settings. When you tap Start, a timer will appear. Gently exhale, start the timer, and hold your breath. You must tap Stop as soon as you notice the first distinct urge to breathe again. The result is your controlled pause period. For example, if your pause period is between 0 and 15 seconds, that may indicate problems such as unhealthy breathing habits, sleep apnea, asthma, or panic disorders.
You can visit the Breath Health tab to see your previous results on the progress calendar, personal bests, and a basic analysis of your score. Upon scrolling further down, the app provides learning resources to better understand your test score and ways to improve it. Frequent tests will help you map your progress. However, if you want to save your longest hold and streaks, you need to log in.
Explore Different Breathing Patterns
Different breathing patterns are the foundation of breathwork exercises. Apart from basic focused breathing, you can try out different patterns for specific issues. The app has around 28 breathing patterns. The free patterns, such as box breathing, calm, tactical, and endurance, are powerful stress busters.
Before trying any exercise, you can read about it to understand what a particular breathing pattern does, the best way to do it, and any safety guidelines. One Deep Breath makes following the exercises easy with customizable animated timers and calming ambient sounds.
Several breathing patterns are only accessible to premium users. However, these patterns help address specific problems. For example, the premium patterns help you deal with anger, irritation, anxiety, and balance. You even have the option of creating a custom pattern.
Try Out the Guided Exercises
The Exercises tab in the app provides a long list of guided breathwork meditations. These are a combination of breathing exercises along with guided meditation. Unlike breathing patterns, these exercises are strongly inclined towards meditation. Therefore, these require you to lie down or be seated comfortably.
For example, the Body Scan exercise helps release tension from every part of the body. Apart from breathwork, guided meditation helps you visualize the tension. Coupled with gentle breathing, it diffuses this tension and further relaxes you. Similarly, you can try out exercises for sleep, troubling thoughts, positivity, and focus.
The app has a learning section with lots of resources. Here, you can learn about the benefits of breathwork, correct posture, and important tips. All the content in this section is in the form of detailed videos. The information is well presented and clearly explained. Additionally, new content is regularly added to the library.
Sleep Better With Sleep Studio
One Deep Breath has a section called Sleep Studio where you can create a mindfulness routine for sleeping. The best sleep trackers are a great way to monitor your sleeping patterns. But stress and anxiety can make falling asleep harder. Sleep-promoting content on Spotify can help with this, but One Deep Breath's Sleep Studio lets you create a personalized nighttime routine that combines guided meditation, breathwork, and music for the most soothing experience.
Choose a guided sleep meditation such as the Yoga Nidra. In this guided meditation, breathing techniques from yoga help you relax and drift to sleep. Alternatively, you can also play sleeping sounds, and try out exercises and breathing patterns designed to help you fall asleep faster. This section is essentially a curation of all the sleep-centric exercises, meditations, and music.
How to Practice Breathwork Safely
How you breathe impacts your heart rate and blood pressure. While the benefits of this technique are plenty, you also need to keep in mind the precautions.
Consciously altering your breathing may cause issues such as hyperventilation, tingling in your fingers or toes, and dizziness. A general safety guideline is to not overdo these exercises and to progress gradually. Each exercise in the app has a set of instructions and guidelines to help you practice safely.
Ideally, you should practice breathwork in a distraction-free environment. Breathwork is not a treatment for mental illness. If you're looking for professional help but in-person therapy is not feasible, telehealth may help improve your mental well-being.
Is One Deep Breath Premium Worth It?
The premium version of One Deep Breath offers over 50 new breathing exercises. Each exercise helps you manage a different problem. Breathwork for reducing headaches, stimulating the autonomous nervous system, and custom sessions require a paid subscription. Additionally, subscribing unlocks more lessons and the entire library of nature sounds.
If you want to explore different breathing techniques, the free version is sufficient. You can also try the premium for seven days through the free trial. Whether or not you subscribe, One Deep Breath is a great way to beat everyday stress.