Practitioners are taking the practical magic of breathwork in fascinating new directions and to important, new communities.

Our 2021 trend “Just Breathe!” explores how breathwork has moved beyond the woo-woo side of wellness to the mainstream, as studies mount that the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health. With the coronavirus, the world has been collectively focused on our breath, but even when the virus recedes, breathwork will gain momentum—because of innovators that are bringing the art of breathing to large, new audiences and pushing it into whole new territories.
Breathing may seem like the most solitary thing we do, but this is a trend being led by people: Breathwork is being used to build communities and bring new ones to wellness.
Wim Hof needs little introduction, with his method of marrying “push the limit” breathing techniques, mindset and cold therapy, and he’s moved from biohacker-god-status to reach bigger audiences during the pandemic. More wellness destinations are making the Wim Hof Experience a centerpiece experience—and while it’s not talked about enough, his extreme challenge model is really bringing men into breathwork and wellness.
Sage Rader brings modern breathwork (combining breathing, brain games and music) to the masses, with a rock-star delivery that turns science and spirituality into sheer entertainment, and his Breath Church (now virtual) is all about relationship-building. Lisa De Narvaez’s Blisspoint Breathwork method creates clubby soundscapes (with special frequencies) to connect people to their breath, heart and each other.
Breath evangelists are bringing the practice to crucial new communities as mental healthcare. Jasmine Marie founded Black Girls Breathing (featured image above) because of the profound lack of minorities in the space and is delivering healing community and meditational breathwork to Black women (and other underserved populations) who face so many mental health challenges. Brian Mackenzie and Tanya Bentley, PhD, co-founders of the Health and Human Performance Foundation (HHPF), are raising funds for Breathe for Teens, a school curriculum that aims to use daily slow breathing to help kids cope with anxiety.
Creative practitioners are using breathwork in many new ways—from fitness and rehabilitation to relief from trauma and PTSD. And it’s a trend that reveals how so much of the medicine in wellness comes from the people-to-people connections, the community and community-building. As Sage Rader put it: “People who breathe together consciously over time begin to share a common bond that transcends words or rational explanation.”
This is based on the “Just Breathe!” trend in the 2021 Global Wellness Trends Report.

Summit Trend in the News

Breathwork Has Gone Mainstream During the COVID EraHarper’s Bazaar

An in-depth piece looking at how breathwork, as a respiratory virus ravaged the globe, didn’t just gain momentum, it entered pop culture. Explains the science behind breathwork: from how it increases parasympathetic activity to how it specifically reduces stress. And how among the hundreds of techniqueswhether circular, boxed or “breath of fire” to opposite nostril breathing or breath-holdingall have the brain-body connection at their heart. 
How Iceman Wim Hof Uncovered the Secrets to Our HealthOutside

Wim Hof, who unites a certain breed of breathwork (controlled hyperventilation) with the health benefits of cold plunges, has attracted millions of followers who swear it has cured everything from depression to diabetes. Outside magazine travels to Iceland to take a deep dive into his history, his method, and how, during the pandemic, he is having a major moment and become a mainstream brand: from a million-plus Instagram followers to 600 certified Wim Hof instructors now spreading his method around the world. 
Black Girls Breathing Is Creating a Safe Space for Black WomenMarie Claire

Jasmine Marie, founder of Black Girls Breathing (featured in the trend), is an important example of building community around breathwork and bringing its healing properties to new communities: Black, brown and indigenous women. Her goal: Make it super accessible and real, and they expanded their digital sessions during COVID-19, letting people take classes for free or on a sliding scale.
Tis the Season to Primal ScreamVogue
An example of bold new directions in breathwork accelerated by the pandemic stress meltdown. This looks at sound-release therapy delivered by breath guru Johann Urb (featured in the trend)using his unique Pyramid Breath Method interspersed with his urging class-takers to scream, cry, or make any wild sound they wantto release intense emotion.
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