Program & Replays

Breathwork Through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory

Broadcast on January 10, 2023
With Professor Stephen W. Porges
Hosted by Jessica Dibb

Professor Stephen W. Porges explores how polyvagal theory explains the mechanisms through which breathwork influences autonomic function. When viewed through this lens, links between breath and state changes in mental processing, health, physiological, and behavior can be explained.

In this session, you’ll discover:

  • Breathing is an accessible portal to the autonomic nervous system
  • Breathing strategies are an onboard resource to support state regulation
  • Breathing patterns influence our biobehavioral state with the potential to optimize health, feelings of safety, and accessibility to others
The views expressed are specific to the author/speaker and may vary from the perspectives of The Shift Network's participants, staff, or other speakers.
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Professor Stephen W. Porges

Distinguished University Scientist, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University

Professor Stephen W. Porges is a distinguished university scientist at Indiana University, where he's the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and professor emeritus at both University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 300 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines that have been cited in more than 35,000 peer-reviewed papers. He holds several patents involved in monitoring and regulating autonomic state.

Stephen is the originator of Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of the physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences. He authored The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-RegulationThe Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, Polyvagal Safety: Attachment, Communication, Self-regulation, and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies. He created a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol™, which is currently used by more than 2,000 therapists to help their patients improve spontaneous social engagement, reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.

Professor Stephen W. Porges