Team-building refers to the process of turning any group of people who have a common vision into a team that has a set of norms and harmony. With team building, members of a group emphasize their shared goals and work towards them together with respect and unity. Teams can be built with basic daily interactions members encounter in their working environment. This natural process takes some time and the desired level of connection between team members might be hard to achieve. Thus it might be a good strategy to use some boosting structured activities. Doing breathing practices together can be a wonderful tool to build a team.
One of the many wonders of conscious breathing is its function to connect us with others. Synchronizing your breath with someone will inevitably create a bond. Understanding and empathy for each other increases as you share this experience. This principle can be used as a powerful team-building technique.
New bonds can be developed and existing ones enhanced with the power of breath. This can be a huge step for building vulnerability-based trust among team mates. Vulnerability based trust requires a deep bond where people can admit their mistakes without fear of judgement and allow themselves to ask for help. This kind of trust enhances the quality of the group work, the relationships among the members and the psychological well-being of each individual. An environment where your vulnerability is not taken advantage of encourages creativity and growth. Breathing is a fundamental function our body performs, it is a symbol for birth and death, it is the bridge between unconscious and conscious. Thus breathing holds the power to reveal the most vulnerable part in us and the purest feelings we possess. Breathing exercises are also very fun to do together. Such an experience creates positive shared memories which is fundamental for trust building as a team.
Throughout human history, close-knit groups have had some rituals that gathered them together and enhanced their bonds. People can sit in circles holding hands, pray, meditate, dance or breathe together creating a synchrone in which they are able to perform a concrete form of unity, and a way of creating harmony with one another. This type of practice not only harmonizes bodies but minds, goals and hearts as well. Most of these ritualistic practices have one other thing in common whether it be dancing, shouting a slogan or repeating a vow: they synchronize the breath of each member. People feel more energized and confident as they become a united force with these practices. They feel good about themselves and their feelings of belonging increases. Even with all of their individual differences, they share this single moment of unity and they are in tune with one another in this magical experience. Their common vision and shared purpose becomes clearer as they focus together.
Any group gathered for any purpose can use breathing principles. One of the strongest ways to connect through breath is with group breathwork sessions. Breathwork can take you to an inner journey where you make discoveries and reach fulfilling insights. Sometimes what you find is so personal that you don’t feel comfortable to share your experience afterwards, but that is not the point. Even though this journey is unique to each individual, there is something very special about a group of people who go through it side by side with their breath as one. It is a very concrete way of supporting each other as they dare to take a look in their own heart and soul without fear.
Short and easier breathing methods such as 4-4-8 breaths can also be used. For this method you inhale and hold your breath for 4 seconds twice and exhale in 8 seconds in sync with your team for a few minutes. Make sure you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth and breathe from the belly not the chest. Place a hand on your belly and another on your chest to control your breathing – your belly should expand, not your chest.
Some breathing methods such as the Wim Hof method has benefits to increase work efficiency and maximize the potential of your team as well. It also works for reducing stress, increasing focus, energy and alertness, which in turn increases productivity.
Breathing, this simple act we don’t even notice we are doing every second of our lives, is one of the most powerful tools we possess. Breathing together can build bonds and be used as a basis for team-building. These practices can range from short exercises people can practice on a daily basis to 40-50 minute continuous group breathwork exercises. Exploring conscious breathing as a team can open doors for changing one’s life and grow as a person while building meaningful connections with other people in the process.
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About Us. Team Breathing – Breathwork for Companies. (n.d.). https://www.teambreathing.com/about-us.
Cronshaw, D. (2019). Just breathe: mastering breathwork for success in life, love, business and beyond: by Dan Brulé, New York, Enliven Books. ISBN: 9 781501 168635.
Coyle, D. (2018, February 20). How showing vulnerability helps build a stronger team. ideas.ted.com. https://ideas.ted.com/how-showing-vulnerability-helps-build-a-stronger-team/.
Heathfield, S. M. (n.d.). What is Team Building? The Balance Careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-team-building-1918270.
Wim Hof Method. (n.d.). Team Building Activities: Wim Hof Method In-Company Training. https://www.wimhofmethod.com/in-company-training.