How Breathwork Works to Heal
A guided experience of Connected Breathwork can reliably deliver noticeable benefits within a single session. This simple technique of circular, or connected breathing is a quick way to experience your breathing becoming free and open. It also gives an unmistakable experience of feeling “clear”. For many, breathwork promotes catharsis, releasing stuck emotions, and gaining clarity into one’s own thought patterns. With more breathwork, the clearer a person becomes.
The clearer we get, the experiences in breathwork may take on a spiritual dimension, such as experiencing transcendence and union with gratitude, bliss and universal love.
How breath and emotion are connected
Throughout our lives, from our very first breath to the last, our respiration patterns change constantly. If we feel calm, we are breathing calmly. When we feel anger, the breath changes again. Breathing changes automatically to reflect our thoughts and emotions.
When stress levels are high, breath tends to come in and go out in an interrupted way. We might not fully exhale at a particularly peak moment. Little breath holds also rapidly change blood chemistry and gives instant emotional dissociation as well as a perception of control.
This is what your nervous system actually needs to do to help you brace for an impact or run quickly. In other words: survive.
We also respond similarly when we get a phone call with terrible news. It could be the stress of an accident, or violence of some kind. It can even be from the way we repeat unkind things to ourselves over and over. The pattern is the same: high emotions + breath holding + muscles suddenly contracting = a ‘knot’ of tension, forged in an instant.
If we could let them go easily, it would not be much of a problem. But the truth is, we don’t often know how to release these knots. What we do notice are the other ‘side-effects’ such as a persistent experience of loneliness, anxiety or depression. When it comes time to change, Connected Breathwork is a rapid means by which we can access and release these knots, gain greater consciousness, insight and even bliss. It teaches both mastery over breath and mind.
Inhale and Allow, Exhale and Let It Go
Inhalations can be viewed as representative of a person’s capacity to receive and allow love in. The exhales are about letting go: of thoughts, emotions, and the stuff that we cling to.
Some people have more issues around receiving while others have more to let go of.
For some, a single experience of breathwork can take them to such a profound realization of consciousness that changes one's life forever. For these people, perhaps there is ‘less in the way’. As you can imagine, for most people, however, there are many knots of tension that must come first in the cue to process.
The Personal Lie
Consider four concentric circles which represent a personality:
The innermost circle represents the core truth of who you are: your “SOUL” with the qualities of light, truth and love.
The middle layer represents the emotional layer. Where we accumulate negative thoughts about ourselves which is not the truth of who you are. These take the form of the garbage we criticize ourselves with. The stuff about not being good enough. The place where we believe we are not capable or deserving of good things. Where we think that we deserve abuse or bad conditions. These knots form the limiting beliefs about how things “are”. How men are. How women are. How money is. How my health should be. These knots are always associated with breath patterns.
The third layer represents the muscular tension that we build up and “hold”.
The fourth layer represents who we pretend to be. This is usually the flip side of feeling not being good enough. For example, if one feels that they are not good enough inside, they might become good at projecting an image of competency or superiority. It allows someone to avoid looking within. These are also associated with constricted breathing patterns.
At each place, these knots of tension, held breath and stuck memory have yet to be fully exhaled out of our system. It’s the unprocessed stuff. The stuff from childhood. The stuff from harsh events or events which we cling to or obsess about. When the knots are numerous, the view to who we really are becomes opaque. Depression feels like this. Life then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of not feeling good enough and proving it to ourselves over and over.
Connected Breathwork allows one or more of these knots of tensions to arise to the surface, made conscious, and then released. It is a uniquely rapid way of clearing the knots out of our system. With even one session we become clearer and lighter as people, and more in touch with who we really are.
What is the science of Connected Breathwork?
We can only measure so much about what Breathwork does physically. It is a simple technique. Studies show that it strengthens the lungs, and gives a measurable boost to the immune system.
Technically speaking, sustained connected breathing into the upper chest quickly rids the body of CO2. This in turn lowers usable oxygen and narrows blood vessels throughout the body. Calcium also goes into hiding temporarily. This stimulates electrical activity in the the sympathetic nervous system. Breathwork is a completely safe process.
The Breathwork process
Connected Breathwork liberates the body and mind, an experience much bigger and much vaster than any description. I’ve seen it again and again in my clients and experienced it powerfully for myself.
After over 25 years of yoga and meditation teaching and practice, coaches, therapists and healers of many types I have found that nothing quite works as powerfully as breathwork does.
If you want something to shift in your life, do breathwork. There isn’t a person or situation that can’t benefit from adding breath, consciousness and energy!