The Lasting Impact Behind Slow Mindful Breathing Practices

And Why You Should be Practicing Them

Mary Clymer
5 min readJan 17, 2024

There is a lot of hype these days around dynamic breathing practices: Popular circular breathing techniques that offset the blood gasses in your body. These types of practices help guide you to more body awareness. But when you are looking for lasting effects, slow mindful breathing is a more practical solution.

I’ve taught hundreds of workshops on breathwork and without question, it is the slow mindful practices that bring students into deeper breath awareness. According to the APA (American Psychological Association), one-third of Americans are living with chronic stress. Making slow mindful breathing an impactful tool in helping to shift this trend of overwhelm and stress among our population.

Slow mindful practices change the brain both structurally and functionally.

The problem is that most people are more interested in dynamic practices, and to be clear, I am all in on this type of breathwork too. In fact, it has helped me develop a clear understanding of breath and how it functions in my body. So I am by no means writing off these amazing practices. I teach them, I use them, I love them. And those dynamic breathing workshops are the ones that sell out, which is incredible! Where slow mindful breathing gets pushed to the side so often because it feels almost too simple. Even though the impact is also immediate and lowers stress levels on impact.

Conscious Breathing

The moment you decide to pay attention to your breath your breath begins to regulate and move in ways that guide you to a deeper understanding of its impact on the body and effect on the mind.

Slow mindful practices are often taught as belly breathing. With the focus being on consciously directing your breath more deeply into the diaphragm. This is helpful because much of this chronic stress we hold is turning us into chest breathers. This can become confusing because your lungs are in your chest, so of course your chest is an active part of mindful breathing.

Let’s consciously breathe right now…

  • Sit up straight, plant your feet on the floor, soften your gaze, roll your shoulders back and down.
  • Place one hand over your heart and one on your belly.
  • Breathe into the belly, allowing your hand to come forward.
  • Exhale out the belly, allowing your hand to naturally recline inward.
  • Inhale into the belly hand, and allow the breath to begin to widen through your ribcage.
  • Exhale out the ribcage and from the belly.
  • One more time, belly inhale, widen your rib cage, and open through your chest
  • Hold here in nice and full at the top of your breath
  • Exhale as the air moves out the chest, and rib cage,e and empty the belly.
  • Repeat 3–5 times then go back to your natural breath.

This simple, yet effective technique helps guide you into the presence of your breath. Right away you can begin to feel the effects and notice your tendencies. Does it feel natural? Is it smooth? Rigid? What about the move back to your natural breath? Does it continue deep into your belly? Does it rise into your chest? These are all helpful observations that go unnoticed in our daily lives, where slow mindful breathing can help us tune in to.

Simple, But Not Easy

I’ve worked with many people on this very practice and it can be challenging. If you are looking to hardwire more ease and calm into your daily life then this is the work.

A practice that sounds almost too easy that you forget to show up and do the work. But this is how the parasympathetic nervous system can activate you into better health. When so many people are struggling with respiratory health, dynamic breathing becomes a problem because those who need more fundament help begin to see breath practices as out of reach.

As a society we are so disconnected from our bodies that slow mindful breathing becomes the tool to get inside — And inside is the only place where change can happen.

When you can focus more on guiding breath mindfully through your body you are associating with it effectively, and this is how you can learn to change it for better health, for nervous system regulation, emotional regulation, and for working through trauma stuck in the body.

If you are a victim of severe trauma it can be triggering when asked to go inside the body and feel what’s happening. Bodies flooded with chronic stress adopt shallow breathing as a way of defense. In this case, slow mindful breathing becomes more about breath awareness and less about going inside. It is the first step in figuring out how and why we breathe the way we do. Then if you choose, you can begin to slowly, mindfully, bring the breath inside.


Slow mindful breathing practices are about awareness and developing a deep sense of agency with your life force. When you feel comfortable in your breath, when you get curious about your tendencies, you can start the process of deeper understanding as the body and mind begin to signal you into feeling a sense of grounding.

Ultimately your breath can guide you through difficult situations with a greater capacity to influence your nervous system and regulate your emotions more responsively.

The key to any long-term success is practice. From the dynamic to the more slow mindful breathing practices.

You must stay consistent to truly develop an agency that provides grounding when those old stress patterns start to rise.

It’s about creating a habit of consciously connecting to your breath as a practice guiding you to greater internal knowledge.

Slow mindful breathing isn’t as trendy as the dynamic practices, but you can do it in as little as 5 minutes a day and start developing lasting effects that support your health and well-being. Like any mindful practice, it takes time to develop, but with consistency, you will begin to see change in both your mental and physical health. So slow down, get mindful, and breathe deep.

Looking to start your journey with breath? Take my 7-Day Foundations of Breath Challenge!



Mary Clymer

Breathwork Coach, Pulmonaut Explorer, & Content Creator. Taking it one breath at a time. Join me at