I’ll be honest, I didn’t know exactly what intentional breathing was before I started writing this article. But that probably goes to show that I’m one of the many who could benefit from it. Truth be told, self-care hasn’t been my top priority as a mom of four.

Since its inception, intentional breathing has been known to be a positive alternative to traditional pharmaceutical treatments for mental, emotional, and physical health. Studies have shown that it can reduce stress, improve self-awareness, help reduce chronic pain, and help you achieve mental clarity, proving this isn’t just some hipster hoax.

How Intentional Breathing Works

Think of intentional breathing as a simple guided meditation. To start, you lie on the floor atop a cushioned mat with your eyes closed. Then with a combination of accelerated breathing and euphoric music accompaniment, you begin to stimulate your senses and your psyche as you navigate various states of consciousness.

Each session typically lasts for two to three hours and is performed in a group setting with a “breather” (the one lying on the floor) and a “sitter” (the one watching over the breather). These two interact much like a mother and doula would during childbirth, where the mother (the breather) leads every surge and impulse and the doula (the sitter) follows her lead and supports where necessary.

By the end of this experience, participants walk away feeling equipped to heal themselves — whether emotionally, mentally, or physically — due to their self-realization during their intense period of focus triggered by this intentional breath work.

If you don’t have two to three hours to breathe, simply take a couple of minutes for yourself. Close the door to your office or room, and just breathe. Just take time to be. This can make the difference between getting overwhelmed and feeling like you’re in the groove.

How Essential Oils Can Help

Essential oils and breath work go hand in hand, like the ocean and sand or Jay and Bey (sorry, not sorry). They offer a symbiotic partnership that enhances the overall outcome of self-care, peace, and mindfulness. A simple way to upgrade your intentional breath work experience is by diffusing essential oils. Here are some essential oils and blends to consider using:

Don’t have a diffuser? This is a fantastic one.

We’re over a month into the year 2020, and I’m more inspired than ever to recommit to my goal of self-care over anything else. It’s a new decade, which means starting right now, we have the opportunity to make the next 10 years our best ones yet. Why not start with an emotional and mental detox? After all, we can’t expect to take the best care of the ones we love if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

Let intentional breathing and essential oils help you get there.

(Breathe in) YOU got this (breathe out).