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Understanding the benefits of Breathwork with Jamie Clements

Twenty-two thousand. The average number of breaths a person takes in a single day. That’s sixteen breaths for every sixty seconds of each minute. These are truly spectacular numbers, especially considering they account for such an unconscious part of our being. And yet, the benefits of breathwork are inarguable.
The Breath Space with Jamie Clements

Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Allow yourself to soak up the dreamlike essence of a single moment, a chance to stay still. In that single breath, you’ll regain your ground, pause your wandering mind, and find yourself weightless. It’s no wonder why breathwork has become such a strong force in the well-being space.

Breathwork is a practice of various techniques, which act as a tool that helps you incorporate the intentional use of breath into your everyday life. In short, it’s the idea of taking time to mindfully approach something that’s always been an unconscious part of your being. As an all-natural method, it can very easily be adapted to busy lives. And because of its immediate effect on the quality of your sleep and your overall health, you won’t find yourself short of motivation to continue this practice.

To gain more insight into breathwork, we spoke with Jamie Clements, founder of The Breath Space, where he talks us through his personal journey with breathwork and the impact it has had on his life, sleep and well-being.


Can you tell us a bit about the journey that led you to breathwork?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as a ‘conventional’ route into teaching breathwork for a living. I have a degree in Economics and had high hopes of going into finance and investment banking. When I realised that wasn’t for me, I ended up working in a sales role for various high-growth start-ups in London. However, lurking in the background from the age of 15, were issues with anxiety and depression that came to a head when I was in my mid-twenties. I was suffering from near-daily panic attacks and they began to impact my life more and more.

I found my way to therapy, meditation, exercise and eventually breathwork. And it was breathwork that changed everything for me. I immersed myself in different styles and experiences. Over the next couple of years, I began to learn and train from some incredible practitioners, and haven’t looked back since.

“I found my way to therapy, meditation, exercise and eventually breathwork. And it was breathwork that changed everything for me.”


Amongst many different techniques, how do you find breathwork has benefited you? Especially when compared with more common practices, like yoga or meditation.

I’m a huge advocate of the power of breathwork in managing anxiety. But I will never be someone who says ‘my way is the best and only way’. What I firmly believe is that to manage anxiety, you need to get a handle on your nervous system. You need to work with the body first, rather than the mind.

The Vagus Nerve, which governs our nervous system’s ‘rest + digest’ response (the seat of relaxation) is made up of neurons. 80% of these are afferent, meaning they flow from the body to the brain. What this means, is that we have a significantly higher chance of finding calm if we work with the body. Out of all of the somatic tools out there, breath is one of the most accessible and effective ways to tap into the Vagus Nerve.

Breathwork and well-being

Taking time to focus on your well-being and discover the benefits of breathwork.


Did you feel that through breathwork your overall well-being and quality of sleep have improved?

Absolutely. I like to say that we experience our lives through the lens of our nervous system. If you’re highly anxious, your nervous system (and you) is on high alert. Even if there is nothing dangerous or threatening going on around you. This has a knock-on effect on your general well-being, including rest and sleep quality. I noticed pretty quickly as I regulated my anxiety that my sleep and my overall well-being improved.


What are the different types of breathwork and how do we find the most suitable?

I like to talk about the full spectrum of breathwork. Breathwork as a term can mean lots of different things to different people. I try to break it down into three key areas. Firstly, functional breathing – looking at how you breathe, day to day, moment to moment, at sleep, during rest, during exercise – aka what is your breath doing when you’re not thinking about it. Secondly, nervous system regulation exercises – simple breathing techniques that can have an impact in a matter of seconds/minutes. Techniques to reduce stress/anxiety, some for sleep and even some for energy, focus and flow.

Finally, the deeper healing modalities of breathwork, or transformational-style breathwork. These can be used to work with stored emotional energy and survival stress, to help us to process trauma and access altered states of consciousness. To find the one that’s most suitable for you, it’s always worth speaking to a credible, trained practitioner, who will be able to advise on what’s best.

Breathwork with Jamie Clements

Breathwork with Jamie Clements


Your ‘sleep’ breathwork is one of your most sought-after, why do you think that is?

It’s a good question! I think primarily because sleep is such a key factor in our general well-being as it has a knock-on effect on every other element. Lots of people need and want help getting better quality sleep. I’m also lucky that my voice seems to land well with people for more relaxing/sleepier sessions.


How can we optimise our performance using breathwork?

We can all optimise performance through the breath. Simply taking back a level of autonomy over your own nervous system, mind and body can have a significant impact on your performance both physically and mentally. More specifically, we can use our breath to prepare more effectively for exercise. To perform to a higher level during exercise and recover better afterwards. I’m grateful to work with some elite athletes who are now looking for the breath to take them to the next level.

“More specifically, we can use the breath to prepare more effectively for exercise.”


How do we regulate our nervous system through breathwork?

Our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) governs all of our body’s automatic functions, such as heart rate, digestion, metabolism and breathing, to name a few. However, the breath is the only part of this system that we have conscious control over. As such, the breath can be used like a remote control to shift where we sit within the ANS. This system is, broadly speaking, made up of the Sympathetic (fight, flight) and Parasympathetic (rest, digest) branches. And we can use the breath to move between these two sides.

You can really view the breath as either the accelerator or brake pedal for the nervous system, depending on what state you want to shift yourself from or to. For most of us, to find healthier regulation, we need to focus on slowing and deepening our breath on a regular basis.

Here is a super sleep technique I would recommend:

“478 Breathing – Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and blow the exhale out of the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat for as long as necessary.”

Learn more about The Breath Space and discover the benefits of breathwork here. For more stories on sleep and wellness, visit House of Savoir.