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Why Do We Feel Lightheaded During Breathwork?

February 21, 20241 min read

Introduction

Intense Breathwork techniques like Tummo or Somatic can have us feeling lightheaded within the first minute of the practice.

Breathwork hands cramp

Why Do I Get Lightheaded During Breathwork?

When we are doing Breathwork, we are fundamentally altering the chemistry of our blood to be high in oxygen and low in carbon dioxide (hypocapnea). Most people are not aware, but our muscles and our brain need a little bit of carbon dioxide in order to function properly.

When we exhale excessively during Breathwork, we can actually lower our blood flow to the brain by as much as 40%, leading to loss of balance, awareness, and a tingling sensation (Breath, James Nestor).

Learn more about low carbon dioxide levels here:

What Can I Do To Reduce Lightheadedness?

You're most likely exhaling too much. Remind yourself you have your foot on the gas pedal; you can go as fast, as slow, as deep or as shallow as you'd like with the Breathwork. Focus on a vigorous inhale, and let the exhale happen passively. You can imagine your breath like a giant spring that you pull open on the inhale, and on the exhale it just wants to go back to normal.

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Alexander Gouyet

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