A therapeutic breathwork session typically involves approximately an hour of concentrated connected breathing coached by a breathworker that works on the levels of body, mind and spirit.
Learning how to sustain a relaxed yet full breathing rhythm through whatever tension that arises in the body is a precious gift. Chronic holding patterns in muscle as well as connective tissue can be released without exterior manipulation. Once this is learned, a life-long method of tension relief is attained. This is an art form and not a mechanical process. One must sense the right breathing pattern for the appropriate circumstances. Like any skill, it develops with practice.
More than an aerobic exercise, breathwork helps us discover the deep-seated negative beliefs behind holding patterns. This allows us to change the thought patterns that tend to recreate the chronic tensions. Sooner or later by giving the old messages and instructions to the body, we produce the same defensive reactivity. Permanent change takes more than just experiencing one time relief. It takes insight into a new way of seeing myself and my life and developing the self-talk to sustain it. The affirmations that come from working with a breathworker are not generic aphorisms for a good life. They are individually developed tools for the reconstruction of a new consciousness. Along with the continued practice of the breathing technique, the affirmations provide a daily reinforcement of a new level of enjoyment in life.
Breathwork’s underlying philosophy is that the key to new life is accepting total responsibility for union with your Self or oneness with the Divine Spirit. This means a willingness to go beyond our small self and letting our breath be our guide and friend en route. This is not a process of speculation and philosophizing but rather of direct experience. No one tells you your truth. You know it directly by virtue of your courage to go past fears and self doubts. Others celebrate with you on your path but do not control or interpret it for you.
Cycle of Breath:
A therapeutic breathwork session often involves:
1) a beginning in which one experiments and discovers how to sustain a connected full rhythm with coaching,
2) a middle period of building an energetic charge to a point of release, and
3) an ending period during which the released energy is grounded and suggestions for application are integrated.
Breath and Energy Releases:
Holding patterns in our breath mechanism frequently date back to our very birth (see Dansbyʼs article). Many people have actual memories of their birth and the fear that generated their holding. But this memory is not necessary to the release process. There is a distinct difference in the ease and pleasure of the breath after the moment of breath release. This is most often followed by an energy release felt throughout the body. The physical sensations of this vary with individuals and relate to dissolution of our chronic areas of suppression.
Most people work through a series of five to ten sessions with a breath coach or breathworker to gain the confidence to continue the practice on their own. This practice involves a heightened awareness of the breath as a moment by moment barometer of our conscious states. The practice is furthered by occasional formal sessions done alone, with a friend or a breathworker. This does not guarantee permanent bliss but gives one direct access to a “powerful medicine” for the altering of stuck energies – physical, mental and spiritual. More and more one can experience the truth that all that is needed is inside.