Breathwork is basically a modern name for Pranayama.
'Prana' means 'life force energy' and 'Ayama' means 'control or expand'.
Ancient yogis controlled and regulated their breath in order to control and regulate their mind and emotions. We too can learn to use the body and breath to heal the mind, and use the mind and breath to heal the body. The essence of pranayama is learning to breathe energy as well as air, to gather it, circulate it, and direct it. Genuine energy can be felt and breath is energy.
In simple terms, breathing is more important than eating, sleeping or even going to the bathroom, therefore breathwork is more important than brushing your teeth, shining your shoes (not sure anyone does this anymore), or combing your hair. To play with the inhale, the exhale and the hold (pause) is to practice pranayama, the dance of awakening and unblocking, balance and regulating your life force energy - hence your mind, body and emotions.
Try this 15minute pranayama first thing in the morning and get your day off to a great start. Don't have 15miuntes to spare, split it down to 5minutes in the morning, midday and early-evening.
Triangle Breathing - Inhale for 3 seconds, Exhale for 3 seconds, Hold your breath for 3 seconds. Continue to repeat for 3 minutes.
Box Breathing - Inhale for 4 seconds, Hold for 4 seconds, Exhale for 4 seconds, Hold for 4 seconds. Continue to repeat for 4 minutes
Circular Breathing - Inhale for 2 seconds, Exhale for 2 seconds. No Holds with this one, continue to repeat for 2 minutes.
Stop controlling and regulating your breath, let your natural breath come and go by itself. Just relax and feel. Be aware and meditate for 5 minutes.
Finally stretch, move, twist and turn taking note of how you feel. Do this for 1 minute.
Welcome to Breathwork or Pranayama, whatever you choose to call it. What in a name anyway..... I wish you the best of luck in your practice.