Blue skies in the forest

Explore the benefits of breathwork

7 October 2020
Heart of England Forest

One of the many benefits of trees is their role in cleaning our air. It is thanks to trees and other vegetation that we have clean air to breathe and that has huge impacts on our health and wellbeing. The focused practice of breathwork can help us reconnect with our breathing and improve the way we feel. This Clean Air Day why not celebrate the planet’s lungs that clean our air by exercising your own?

What is Breathwork?

Did you know that many of us do not breathe in a way that aids and nourishes our bodies and minds? Our busy, stressful lifestyles, extended periods spent sitting down and tight clothes often restrict our breathing.

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath when stressed or worried? Many of us take short, shallow, quick breaths that do not feed the body with the oxygen it needs and sends messages to our brain that we are in panic mode.

Breathwork is the practice of being conscious of the way we are breathing, and sometimes breathing in a purposeful manner to create certain sensations in the body and mind. There are many schools and techniques in breathwork and depending on which pattern of breathing you follow they can have many different effects.

Some breathwork techniques will bring about a sense of calm and relaxation in the body, others will make you feel energised and focused. Some schools of breathwork even claim to cure headaches, hangovers and back pain, with a few simple breaths in and out.


Benefits of Breathwork

There are many reasons to try breathwork on your next Forest visit, as research suggests that it can:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce the experience of pain
  • Boost mood
  • Improve focus
  • Lift energy levels
  • Improve sleep

Breathwork in the Forest

Next time you are in the Forest, find a spot that is quiet, where you are unlikely to be disturbed and make yourself comfortable. A study at Lancaster University found that silver birch, yew and elder trees were the most effective at capturing pollutant particles. You can find birch and elder in the Forest, so sit by these if you can.

The first time you try breathwork the feeling can be quite intense, so we recommend a few guided meditations below to support you through the practice.

Choose your meditation from those below and plug in your headphones. Follow the instructions on the meditation and see how you begin to feel, breathing in the nice clean air of the Forest.

After the meditation, make sure you have a large drink of water and rehydrate. You may want to collect your thoughts before continuing your walk or returning home.

Meditations to try

  • The Wim Hof Method
  • The Breath Guy
  • Rebecca Dennis

If you are not able to get to the Forest, this works just as well in your garden or local green space. Try it out and tell us how you feel by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and use the hashtag #FeelGoodForest.

The Forest canopy

Feel good in the Forest

Our series of forest therapy articles explores the different ways we can feel good when visiting the Forest. Read about mindfulness and birdsong and discover the benefits of going barefoot with grounding.


Further reading

'And Breathe: The complete guide to deep breathing and the secret to health, wellbeing and happiness' by Rebecca Dennis (Orion Spring) :

'Breath' by James Nestor (Penguin Life) :

'Exhale' by Richie Bostock (Penguin Life):

The best trees to reduce air pollution,still%20captured%20a%20respectable%2032%25.

'The Wim Hof Method' by Wim Hof (Rider):

UK air pollution removal: how much pollution does vegetation remove in your area?