WHAT IS BREATHWORK?
Breathwork in its simplest definition is deep breathing into the body.
It is a great way to deeply connect with your body and yourself.
There are many breathwork modalities aimed for different purposes. The one I use in my groupwork or 1-1 sessions is continuous breathing into belly, in from the mouth, out from the mouth with no pause between breaths. This type of breathwork drops you into your body, and brings up any past unprocessed emotions from the past to be processed.
You might not allow yourself to cry, especially amongst men, there could be a shame around crying. Maybe you grew up in a household, you were told to stop crying so you learnt to push sadness under the carpet whenever it came up. Or maybe you learnt to supress your anger. What happens is, anything you’re not allowing yourself to feel in the moment, your body remembers. It has its own incredible intelligence. It stores these emotions and energetical blocks to be released when it feels safe to release.
Group breathwork journeys and 1-1 sessions are spaces where you feel safe and held to go into the wounds from the past to feel them fully in order to let them go.
In the 1-1 breathwork sessions, through movement, breathwork, emotional release, you have an opportunity to release tension and trauma in the body so you can feel free, empowered and yourself again.
These sessions are great to get out of the head and come back to the body. The more you make this shift, you remember what it feels like. It becomes a new pathway you can follow and come back to with ease on your own after practice.
If you experience:
Living in your head
Being weighed down by work and life
Feeling responsible for others
Then, breathwork is a great tool for you to feel, process anything that needs to be released leaving you feeling calm, grounded and free.
What you may experience from doing breathwork:
Feeling of expansion and lightness
More compassion for self
Letting go of the past
Deeper connection with self
My highlight from the 1-1 breathwork sessions were being able to reconnect with a feeling of joy I hadn't felt for a long time, as well as being able to laugh and not feel insecure about it. During our sessions together, there were times when I did feel more at peace and put less pressure on myself to move forward so quickly. The sessions are very much about trust. Know that it might be a little strange at first but you are in safe hands and this is a great opportunity to truly express anything you've been repressing.
There is something very profound about breathwork. It feels like positive messages are sent to your DNA for alsting change. Isik provides a trusting and enjoyable space where you are free to explore whatever is important to you. I definitely recommend her sessions.
In the 1:1 breathwork sessions, I combine tools from transformational, biodynamic and shamanic breathwork as well as emotional release tools and Reiki.
If you’ve never done breathwork before and want to try it in a group setting,
I run monthly breathwork workshops called “Freedom Through Breath”, which can be found below.
I’m writing this having recently experienced a powerful breathwork session.
Recently I was introduced to breathwork and was fortunate enough to get the chance to work with an incredible facilitator.
For those of you unfamiliar with breathwork it is a healing modality that, using rapid deep breathing, allows you to shed trauma held in the body as well as shifting energetic blocks. For me it is a very primal practice, tapping into something so deep within.
Throughout the past 10 years I have experienced some shifts in the body but actually much of my practice of meditation has shifted my psychology rather than the deeply held trauma I have carried for much of my life.
And so last night I went deep. I am more than willing to push myself and commit fully to whatever arises and today was no different. Today something huge shifted.
I encountered my profound grief and rage that I had been holding regarding my mum and her condition. I roared with all my heart, tears poured out of me, sobbing, whaling.
I yelled so loudly that my mum might hear me and remember who I am. I yelled so loudly that God would know my anger at what has happened to her. I felt the pain and suffering inherent in being human in it's entirety. I writhed and rocked and shouted. The sounds that were arising were from my depths. I lamented that my mum doesn't get to see how far I’ve come and that I was fundamentally okay having helped and supported me through my troubled past.
Knots and pains in the body have opened up, moved around. Things have worked themselves free in some noticeable way. My body feels different. My energy levels have shot up through this work, my motivation levels have increased. My meditation is deeper and more still than ever before.
All this from breathing, you might ask? Well, yes.
I am discovering that this work dovetails so wonderfully with my meditation practice. In fact I have been so taken by this work that I have recently learned to facilitate it myself and hope to be sharing it in the coming months.
In the meantime if you are interested in the transformational potential of the breath I highly recommend the lady I have been working with, Isik Tlabar . I cannot speak highly enough of her and the space she creates in order for the body to do it's work. <3
What have I let myself in for?
I finished my interview with Isik Tlabar, transformation coach and breathwork facilitator, where I learned all about the benefits of using breathe to release emotions. Now it was time for me to experience it, and I suddenly became very nervous!
What Isik had taught me made complete sense. Emotions are energy in motion and if we don’t feel them and release them, we trap them in our body. But now it became very real. These were MY trapped emotions. As intrigued as I was, I was also very scared about what may come out. What would I need to face which I had been repressing? And how could I let it out front of another person?
Isik immediately sensed my trepidation and put me at ease. She explained how the session would run and how I would use breathe and movement to free the emotions. The good part was that I did not have to re-live the event that lead me to suppressing the emotion, I just needed to allow the emotion to be expressed so that it could pass. She showed me movements to safely release the emotions out, such stomping, banging my fists into pillows and shaking.
Let the breathing begin
I laid down on a comfortable, pillow-filled bed, in the calming sanctuary of her living room. As Isik guided me through some simple breathing to relax me, I somehow knew everything was going to be fine. Isik has an incredibly energy that nurtures and supports you, providing pure love without judgement. I could let myself go and explore the journey Isik would take me on.
The music begins and I sink into myself. The soundtrack, I later realise, is an epic journey, an incredible compilation Isik has put together which perfectly accompanies the process we would go through. With different breathing techniques, such as panting, or deeper continuous in-out breathing, strange things started to happen.
I felt frustration coming out of me. My arms wanted to shake, my head moved side to side and my legs kicked out. Waves of annoyance filled me. I became incredibly mad, a real kind of angry, hate filled mad and I screamed and screamed, and my body flailed about. Isik held the space for me and let me express what needed to come out. She neither consoled nor comforted me but was just with me and allowed me to go through what I needed without judgement.
Different emotions kept pouring out of me. I have no idea how long the process lasted, maybe an hour or hour and a half. In between emotional releases, Isik would return me to the breathing to guide me through the process. As I had also given her permission to touch my body, she would work with me to release and channel the emotions through energy healing.
At one stage, I found myself on my back with my knees bent and legs raised. I felt a deep groaning and a desire to push, like being in labour. This was actually a very powerful release for me, and in discussing with Isik after, it can be common with women for various reasons. For me, it released the tension I had put on myself, for not wanting to be a mother.
I also had an amazing release of laughter, deep gratifying belly chuckles that seemed to go on and on. And when this subsided, I was overwhelmed by a very low and sorrowful weeping. Tears softly rolled down my cheeks, and I wept for my loss and my pain. I cried for the younger me who had been subject to my own torment of self-hatred. I felt her pain and sorrow. When I was her, I experienced the emotions of self-hatred, but I had never released how much I had hurt myself too, how much pain was suppressed, because I had behaved that way to myself.
Returning to self
As the sound track completed its epic journey of my emotional release, I lay there and became calm. Isik gently guided me back into the room and to a state of peace in the present moment. I realised just how light I felt. It was like I was carrying around a burden in my body which was just so normal to me, that I didn’t really know it was there. But once it was gone, I felt freed.
I had such a wave of compassion for myself and for my humanness. I felt love and kindness for myself, and understood what I had just given to myself, was an act of self-love. In expressing the trapped emotions, I released myself from their power. I also felt an immense gratitude for Isik, for her to be with me in my suffering and pain, holding a safe space, and allowing my release without judgement. She is an incredibly grounded healing facilitator and I am honoured to have experienced her compassion and kindness.
The breathwork on Thursday was again very strong. I am still learning to trust my body and in awe of how it knows what it wants to release and how to find the right movement and position to do this. There is an inner dialogue where my mind says “just lie still” and then my body starts to move and part of my mind distrusts my body and wants it to stop, so I tell my mind to get out of the way and let me body go where it needs to go.
I have always been rather sceptical about statements that we are all “made of light”, seeing this as a nice metaphor for goodness and love rather than anything more literal or real. However, my expense in the breathwork session this week opened my perception in a new way.
I felt pain and a frozen rigidity in my right hand and arm. As I breathed into this place a tingling vibration began in my hand and fingers, to start with like pins and needles, then more and more intense, like electricity. Eventually the intensity was so powerful, the vibration to strong that I experienced my hand being filled with what I would call pure light, an immensely strong healing energy that then spread up my arm and gradually dissipated into my whole body. I released a lot of tears, sadness, grief, pain, loss and longing. And then felt very peaceful.
Thanks again for another beautiful and powerful session on Thursday.
Once again I took a few more steps forward in trusting my body to know what I needed, where the pain and trauma was being held, and how to release it safely. The special magic this time was a sense of the outer layer of my body gently but firmly holding and caressing the contracted, wounded and hurting inner parts. This holding allowed the inner core to relax, release and expand, with deep, long sounds from my belly and throat, as well as sweet streams of tears from my eyes. I felt a freeing joy in the release and the crying. The places of pain and blockage shifted and melted, leaving me with a gorgeous vibration all over.
I had another night of vivid dreams afterwards.
So grateful for this possibility in my life right now.