Breathwork can be a profound tool to support our bodies in releasing what no longer serves us while creating more capacity for rest, creativity and deeper self love.
This particular type of breathwork has roots in South Asian medicine and is derived from the pranayama breath. It is a conscious, connected breath meditation where we actively breathe to increase the oxygen in our nervous system to help move overwhelming, stagnant or suppressed emotions and energy that may be held in our bodies.
As a body-based therapist, I love geeking out about the nervous system impact of breathwork! When we intentionally over-oxygenate the body, we will activate our sympathetic nervous system. Seems strange to increase energy in order to relax and heal, right? It can feel counter-intuitive, however I think of it like using defibrillators to shock the system so we can become more regulated, dropping back into our parasympathetic system where we can find more peace and relaxation. Through this process, it can feel common to experience tingling in the body, muscle tension & release, and waves of emotions moving through.
As a spiritual seeker, I am always blown away by the magical gifts that I continue to receive and witness through this work. The breath has been used for centuries to open doors to higher levels of consciousness. It can be a place that reveals our shadow and the places we may need to surrender, and it can also connect us to our higher selves. At the height of the session when we are invited to let out a big, primal scream, people often describe floating into another dimension and finding deep clarity. It can be common to feel connected to the spirit realm through this work, and to have our heart open deeper to love and compassion for ourselves and others.
Willing yourself to breathe heavily for short intense time can be profoundly therapeutic... It's only through disruption that we can be normal again. That's what techniques like vigorous pranayamas do. They stress the body on purpose, snapping it out of it's funk so that it can properly function for the other 23 1/2 hours of day. Conscious breathing teaches us to be the pilots of our bodies, not the passengers.
what to expect in a breathwork session
We will join together virtually as you settle into your own sanctuary at home. You are encouraged to bring along an eye pillow, blankets & pillows for comfort, stones & crystals for grounding, and headphones for good sound quality. I will share the purpose of this work, what to expect in your body, and then you will learn the 3-part breath: inhaling first deep into the belly, inhaling again into the chest, and then exhaling.
After settling comfortably on your back I will guide you in a brief meditation, and then we begin the active breathing. We continue to loop the breath for about 15 minutes, starting slow and then building energy by increasing the breath if it feels right in your body. As the music, breath and energy increase, we let out a big collective primal yell to let go of all of the energy that has been building. This can bring a deep nervous system shift. Sometimes people shake and tremble (which is a beautiful sign that your body is releasing), sometimes tears flow, sometimes gratitude cracks us wide open, sometimes people laugh with joy and sometimes people experience traveling into another dimension… anything goes, and I trust that your body will know exactly what it needs to heal. After we yell, we then drop the active breath and let our bodies rest and integrate the work for about 15 minutes while beautiful music plays.
After a session our hearts can be pretty open energetically, so I recommend tending gently and lovingly to yourself. You may find it helpful to energetically clear your space afterwards, burning incense, sage or an herb or plant your ancestors have been connected to. I love taking an energy clearing bath after breathwork: 2c epsom salt, 2c apple cider vinegar, 1c baking soda. It can also be a beautiful time to drop into your heart and journal.