Breathwork & The Default Mode Network: What’s Really Happening?

What actually happens physiologically and biologically to your body and brain’s “Default Mode Network” during conscious connected breathing and/or breathwork practices?

When you breathe deeply and continuously without pausing in a circular style it is similar to plant medicine.

This style of breathwork (see BREATHE | Breath & Wellness) slows down a structure of the brain called the default mode network (DMN).

Meaning, there is a decrease in blood flow and electrical activity to those areas.

The Biology: Default Mode Network

Inside my brain and yours, the DMN is a group of structures found in the frontal and pre-frontal cortex.

According to scientific research, the DMN is primarily responsible for your ego or sense of self, and responsible for your brain’s control mechanisms.

In other words, a lot of your rigid, habitual thinking and obsessions.

It takes about 10-20 minutes of circular connected breathing until it starts to positively affect the default mode network.

Most importantly, when we start to “bypass” our egoic mind.

DMN is most active when you recall memories, are melancholy, monitor environment for danger, or think about intentions of others.

Basically, it's the part of our brain that light up when you self-reflect.

Turning Down The Volume of Your Stress 

Essentially, DMN volume should be turned down with less blood flow during meditation or when you are in a flow state.

This should be especially true during a myopic or singular focused task.

Because of incredible amounts of stress that humans are under in a frenetic modern world, this is sadly not the case.

Science, however, is now proving that conscious connected breathing can make a positive impact to “turn down the volume” of the default mode network.

With the ego in a calm state, boundaries between self and world, subject and object dissolve.

Conscious breathing helps relax the DMN that leads us to obsess – which makes you more calm and less stressed.

Habitual Thought Patterns & Breathwork

This allows you to break free from habitual thinking patterns where you can experience a transcendence of time/space.

It also can create and a sense of unity and sacredness with a better, more positive mood.

Since this style of breathing  temporarily calms the ego, your brain is then free to explore more unconscious memories.

I personally have experienced childhood memories forgotten years ago that have come up because the DMN didn't have any blocks in place anymore to guard against them.

In everyday life, we all tend to normally suppress a lot of emotions and memories.

During certain styles of breathwork, the subconscious and body starts to release them.

Breathwork & The Default Mode Network

During a deeper session, everything come ups and deep breathing creates physical and emotional symptoms that become intense.

This gives me an opportunity to become aware, process, and release them energetically and physically.

In a early study on Holotropic Breathwork from 2007, the researchers found that voluntary hyperventilation resulted in disinhibition of previously avoided or suppressed stimuli.

Takeaway: When I (and you) do conscious breathwork regularly, it strengthens neural pathways to a calmer sense of self and higher levels of intelligence.

My subconscious mind opens up for exploration which allows for easier access to it on a day to day basis.

Think of it as a powerful way to free yourself from the limiting beliefs stored deep in the subconscious mind.

The egoic mind eases and and an access point is created to integrating this deep inner work into your everyday life.

Clearing Stress With Breath

Scientific research around conscious connected breathwork is still in the early stages.

Yet, it is rapidly being explored more and more by global health enthusiasts, yoga practitioners, and also wellness advocates.

Consider reviewing more studies for Holotropic Breathwork that support claims of potential healing effects (this article summarizes is great)

Dive deeper about becoming a student of the Wellness Force BREATHE | Breath & Wellness program.

You'll learn how to pull the only lever in your ANS (Automatic Nervous System) that will make you more resilient and adaptive to stress.

All by turning down the volume of the default mode network.

Learn more about BREATHE | Breath & Wellness program.

My name is Josh Trent, and I have a passion for Breathwork.. for SO many reasons.

If I only had the power of the breath to help me control and let go of my chronic stress.

If I only had what you have right in front of you here with the BREATHE | Breath & Wellness 21 Day Program… I would have saved myself over two decades of pain.

Better Breathwork

Since 2017, I've spent 4 years traveling around the world to Thailand, Sedona, Costa Rica and much more to learn the art and science of the breath from some of the most sought after teachers globally to bring you this 21 day program.

I call this journey “my return back home to myself,” and I'm here to share all the lessons, practical and ancient wisdom and techniques with you.

In this program, you will use breath as your ally and trusted companion to guide you through stress.

By the end of the 21 Days in BREATHE | Breath & Wellness, you will know, trust, and embody the phrase: “If I can breathe, I can choose.”

Copyright © Wellness Force Media 2022

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About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, and a cat named Cleo. He is the Founder of Wellness Force Media, host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath & Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 19+ years as a trainer, researcher, and facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. The Wellness Force Media Mission is to help humans heal mental, emotional, and physical health through podcasts, programs, and a global community that believes in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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Do you struggle with anxiety or depression? The BREATHE | Breath & Wellness 21 day guided program was made for you. I created BREATHE after my own dark nights of the soul and years of research traveling the world in search of the truth about self-healing.

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