I’m hesitant to tell people I’m a breath worker. After all, we breathe from the moment we’re born until we take our last breath. So who needs lessons in how to do what we’ve always done, and who am I to show them how to do it
Three years ago, I attended my first breath workshop on the recommendation of a friend. The facilitator gave our group an introduction to the process and a summary of what we might experience. He demonstrated how to breathe in and out deeply through open mouths, without pauses, and he asked that we continue to breathe in this manner for an entire hour, no matter what came up. He explained that we could control the intensity of our experience by slowing down, or speeding up, our breath.
About 30 minutes into that first session, my body full of oxygen, I experienced what felt like imminent death. The facilitator encouraged me to keep breathing. I did and what transpired next has stayed with me since. A crystal clear knowing came to me that day, that the divine existed within me—not out there in crystals, gurus, or any other number of teachings we reach for in search of peace. It was inside of me, all along.
Breathwork brought me home.
And I got to lie on a cushion on a floor for the whole thing. I was hooked and I wanted to know more.
There are a number of breathwork modalities: Holotropic, transformational, rebirthing, clarity breathwork and more, too many to list here. Breathwork, regardless of style, allows unconscious thoughts and patterns to surface, while offering the means to release them energetically, physically and emotionally, through sustained connected breathing. The various modalities differ mostly in length of sessions, speed of the breath, and post-breathwork integration activities. In holotropic breathwork for instance, participants draw their experiences, whereas, in clarity breathwork, breathers share verbally. What all modalities offer in common is an awareness of spirit and an expanded sense of one’s true self.
As a writer, I find that breathwork helps me to write more authentically. When I fill every cell of my body with oxygen for a sustained period, all the bullshit fades to black, and that which matters rises to the surface. Suddenly, I know precisely what I want to say. As in life.
Typically, the experience for each ‘breather’ is unique each time. Participants may experience incredible peace, painful emotions, or lost memories. They may journey—some claim that breathwork is the nearest thing to a psychedelic experience. On a purely physical level, breath sessions detoxify and rejuvenate the body.
Under normal circumstances, 75% of toxins are expelled from our bodies through our breath. Imagine what happens when you breathe at full capacity, non-stop, for an hour or more. It speeds recovery from whatever ails you.
Whether you would like to recover from writer’s block, painful memories, negativity, the inability to solve a particular problem, or whether you simply wish to experience incredible bliss, peace and blasts of insight that will change your life, breath work can take you there.
Robin Sparks is a writer and photographer whose articles seek to increase inter-cultural understanding and acceptance of differences. Robin teaches the art of storytelling in workshops around the world. robinsparks.com
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