• Andy Murphy

How SOMA Breathwork Helps To Reduce Anxiety

Updated: Jun 1

In day-to-day, real life situations

It all started with this baffling question — ‘When Did I Get Anxiety?’

I never even knew that I had anxiety before it was a thing. I always knew that my heart would pound when it was my turn to speak in public. I always knew that I’d become clammy and sweaty in those moments and that my throat would suddenly squeeze tighter and tighter. I always knew these parts of myself well but I never knew it was called Anxiety. I thought that was something someone else had to deal with.

That’s when I had to ask myself that baffling question — when did I get anxiety?

However, once discovered and named, I quickly started to seek ways in which I could live with it in a healthier way.

I have been lucky (at least by own reckoning) to find myself of a spiritual path that has led me to many beautiful communities where yoga, plant medicines, dance, kirtans and many other explorations are celebrated.

But even during these times, and however happy and peaceful I found myself to be, anxiety would still often rear its persistent head. And if I’m honest, it still does.

So, even though I began to feel far better I was always on the lookout for ways to heal.

That’s when I discovered SOMA Breath.

I’d experienced other breathwork techniques before and loved them, especially during my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training course, but deep down I knew that it would soon pass. For some reason they didn’t stand up to the test of time. There was always something missing.

So I kept being on the lookout for that one wholesome technique that combined all of the components that I was looking for in one place.

Soma Breath, at least for me, is that place.

For this blog I will focus solely on how the different parts of SOMA Breath have helped to reduce my own anxiety levels through the music they create, the different ways in which we breathe and in the sounds we can make. I could speak on many different levels, and have in other blog posts but for this one I will keep the focus on overcoming anxiety, or at the very least, living with it with more ease.

After all, if you’re anxious, there’s not much time to waste!

So, let’s get to it.

How SOMA Breath Helps Me Overcome Anxiety

1. The Breath

our most potent tool

If the breath could be split into 3 parts then roughly 30% of a full breath comes into the belly. 60% comes into the chest/lung region and 10% comes into the throat.

High levels of anxiety live in the final 10% of the breath, right there in the throat. And because it's only 10% of the breath, more breaths need to be taken which overexerts the body, floods it with more oxygen and turns up the nervous system to create more anxiety on top of the anxiety.

That’s why it’s so stressful!

We can reduce anxiety by learning how to take deeper, more fuller breaths to drop the nervous system down, slow the heart rate and regulate our oxygen levels to a more balanced state.

Easing The Grip of Anxiety Through The Different Rhythms of Breath

For anxiety, stress or deeper sleep, we can use any of the combinations that take us from our sympathetic nervous system to the parasympatheic nervous system. You don’t need to know what each of these are, although that can be helpful, but knowing that both are at play is key and knowing how to regulate both is even more important.

If we want more energy we can do breathing exercises such as the Breath of Fire found in Kundalini Yoga or other quicker breaths that stimulate high energy levels and which turn on the sympathetic nervous system.

But more energy is not what helps anxiety. Anxiety often wants to be softened. It’s the highly turned on sympathetic nervous system that overpowers the parasympathetic nervous system to knock the whole system out of whack and blocks our innate ability to regulate ourselves.

This is anxiety.

But we can regulate it ourselves with our breath.

We can soften the breath by breathing in less than we breathe out. All this means is that if we take a breath in for 2 seconds, we can breathe out for 4 seconds. If we breathe in for 4 seconds, we can breathe out for 6–8 seconds.

This balances out the two nervous systems so we will naturally drop the body and the breath down to a more calm state and quite quickly ease the grip that anxiety holds.

This is just one simple tool that has given me much breathing space when I’ve needed it most.

It’s also a great breathing pattern if you’re struggling to sleep.

2. Rhythmical Breathing & Heart Coherence

SOMA Breath uses rhytmical breathing during its sessions which basically means breathing in a rhythm (hence the name). The special thing about breathing in a rhythm for long enough is that it brings us into a place called Heart Coherence. The Heart Math Institute has done extensive research on heart coherence so if you want to learn more you can check out their website but to put it in a nutshell here, heart coherence allows the bodies wisdom to communicate between all of its cells so it can come into a balanced state where energy flows easier, blood circulates more fluidly, our mind becomes calmer and more clear and we are in alignment with the environment we find ourselves in.

This makes us more open, more energised and lighter. And far greater abilities of healing and rejuvenating.

I never thought all of this was true until doing it and feeling the effects myself. Now whenever I’m anxious I often turn to this simple yet profound breathing pattern (in for 4 seconds out for 4 seconds without pause) to calm the mind and soften the body.

Then, if we want to go one step further, we can begin to sound.

3. Brainwave Music

a beautiful way to‘hack’ the mind.

SOMA Breath uses specifically designed brainwave music that works at dropping the mind from Beta brainwaves (the part of the brain you are using to read this blog) to Alpha, Theta, Delta and even Gamma brainwaves. It’s an amazing tool to ‘hack’ the brain and let it find a slower rhythm that’s more coherent.

Anxious minds are often operating in high levels of incoherent beta brainwaves so I found that whenever I listen to brainwave music, I can literally feel the frequencies re-wire the neuro-chemistry in my brain to relax both the mind and the body down, enough to ease the grip that anxiety holds.

I love the music so much that I now use it to breathe with, to meditate on, to read, to write and to focus. It’s become a part of my daily life. It’s fantastic to fall asleep to and especially helpful if the mind is working overdrive. Check out the thousands and thousands of hours (literally!) of brainwave music/binaural beats on Youtube, iAwake or by trying one of SOMA Breath’s courses to see the power of it once it’s combined with the breath.

I was amazed, and still am.

4. Sounding of my most favourite things to do!

Sounding can be anything but basically it works on the same principle of the above breathing pattern (with longer exhales) but without much trying or even noticing that it is happening.

Try take a deep breath in and then let out a sound of Aaaaaaa for as long as you can. You’ll see what I mean. Typically, the sound out lasts a lot longer than the breath in.

This will naturally drop you down to a calmer state while sound itself is a vibration that once released, can release blocked or stuck energy (which I’ve found common in anxious states).

Sounding is another form to ‘trick’ anxiety out of it’s own grip as it gives the body some rest-bite and allows transformation to happen.

That’s why I love sounding so much. It feels great and it calms anxiety — whats not to like?

Wim Hof has been said to sound, often humming and chanting wherever he goes. I’m not saying that he suffers with anxiety but he is cool. Far cooler than me. So, if you don’t believe me on this one, you can take Wim’s word for it.

….but back to SOMA.

By combining all of these elements into one journey, SOMA Breath has been found to transform stress, anxiety, depression, illnesses, diseases, financial troubles, relationship worries and impotence. At the very least it’s changed the persons emotional well-being in that moment. At the far end it’s been championed as aiding the recovery of cancers, chronic illnesses and diabetes.

I can’t claim any of those for myself but it has proven to be an incredible tool to soften anxiety, especially in the moments when I need it most.

This combination of Brainwave Music, Breathwork and Sound make for an epic journey and for day to day, real time, real life tools to help with anxiety, right there in the moment it’s happening. That for me, along with so many other gifts, has been one that I’m continuously grateful for.

If you’ve been inspired click on any of the below courses to see what SOMA has to offer.

Free 7 Day Mini Course

Free SOMA Masterclass

SOMA’s Daily Dose

21 Awakening Journey

SOMA Instructor

"When we honour our breath, we honour ourselves. When we reclaim our breath, we reclaim ourselves.”
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