Is There A Difference Between Breathwork & Meditation?
Some people say there are differences between the intention or purpose of breathwork and meditation. I do not think there are differences, other than in the name. I have heard breathwork described as taking us deeper into our body and out of our mind, where meditation calls attention to our mind. However, I believe that both are working to move beyond the body-mind.
They are just different approaches, kind of. Meditation encourages us to observe our thoughts as they come and go, then observe the space in-between our thoughts. As we learn to observe the space in-between our thoughts we start to become more aware. However, a very common method of starting to meditate is achieved by observing our breath. Observing our breath is a tool that we can use to stop over-thinking and start observing. It is a way to calm the body and the mind.
Mindfulness is a step in meditation, but once you are mindful, you no longer have to practice being mindful, so you can move beyond that. Mindful is just what you are. So then you have the ability to let go of the mind. However, this does not work for most people, so we use mindfulness as a tool within our meditative practices to not allow our ego to take complete control and swing our actions and decisions to be completely led by fear, anger, the past, and so on.
Breathwork teaches you to observe your breath, which takes you out of your mind more quickly. You are creating physical changes in your body-mind immediately with breathwork, and can typically see quicker results - but not necessarily better or more powerful. I see breathwork as a more active form of meditation that works well with society today. Breathwork gives your mind-body a physical and mental task - breathing and counting - so you cannot focus on much else. Therefore, you get out of your mind,clear your thoughts. You are being mindful of your breathing, which allows you to not focus on your thoughts. Breathwork is easier and faster.
The intention of both, in my opinion, is to connect us to our true self, to nature, to consciousness. One is not better than the other, both are excellent and, probably, necessary practices. Both intend to release us from the trauma and fears of the past that tend to control our thoughts and decisions. Both are to bring us to the present moment, to enjoy life, be kind, and live the life we truly desire.