When we finally decide that something needs to change, our breath is there to lead us to heal whatever ‘disconnect’ we have created in the name of our survival. ~ John Stamoulos
When it comes to breathing techniques, Breathwork is often lumped in with pranayama and other life enhancement disciplines that use the breath for meditation, relaxation, focusing and wellbeing. It is also often thought to be simply a part of Yoga practice or part of meditation.
Truth is, Breathwork is neither Yoga nor meditation. It stands alone as its own process.
And…even though the breath is the common denominator in all these processes, Breathwork has its own unique approach and end-goal. In Breathwork, the breath is a therapeutic vehicle for release, healing and growth.
What is the difference between Breathwork and other breathing techniques?
All breathing techniques share a prime connection to the ancient knowledge of the breath’s innate power to heal and revitalise.
Pranayama is based on ancient practices that use slow, deep breathing techniques to control the pace of the breath in order to create deep meditative states, physical relaxation and a calm mind that is without thought. When practiced regularly these approaches promote optimum health and balanced holistic wellbeing. In the pranayama philosophy, when the breath is out of sync and chaotic, it similarly creates chaos and dysfunction in both body and mind.
Breathwork, on the other hand, uses its signature conscious connected circular breathing pattern, to generate powerful energy throughout the body that encourages thoughts, awareness, and supports the participant to allow memories to surface so they can be released. It sets the breath free to safely and gently transport participants into non-ordinary relaxed states of consciousness that supports:
- the ability to express and release entrenched patterns of emotions, beliefs, and traumas from the past that block the ability to access one’s full potential
- understanding the effects that our birth has had on our self-esteem, our relationships, family dynamics and other challenging life issues
- release of stress, tension and anxiety
- deeper self-awareness that expands, transforms and strengthens the ability to live with greater ease and capability in order to make better decisions about what needs healing, what actions you can take, what blocks need broken down so that you can have a better life and make more positive and clear decisions. (Self-Mastery)
In general, the breath has been used to unlock an infinite number of levels within the self. When used in the Breathwork process, its own natural intelligence brings consciousness to different levels of the body, mind, emotions and spirit as it journeys “inward” to the cellular level and picks up whatever level of experience within the participant is in need of healing.
In a Breathwork session, * the breath is the star and the healer*
Under the guidance of a professionally trained Breathwork facilitator, a typical Breathwork session includes pre-interview to focus the goals of the breath session, supervision and support during the actual breathing session, and a post session discussion to help integrate the Breathwork experiences. Also different from yogic breathing practices that take place in a sitting position, Breathwork participants are usually lying down.
Again, different from other breathing processes, the Breathwork participant is encouraged to allow the breath to freely move rather than trying to control it. The facilitator supports the participant to get out of his/her own way and to simply surrender, letting the breath bring up whatever experience it does. The spectrum of experiences range from physical sensations of pain, pleasure, heat, cold, or energy moving as old or blocked emotions (anger, sadness etc.) surface to be released.
Throughout the process the participant is conscious and may also become aware of unhealthy behaviour patterns, make connections to new awakenings or experience profound spiritual moments that feel like a sense of oneness with divinity. By simply surrendering to the breath’s ‘knowing’ through Breathwork, you are transported on a healing journey that has the potential to change life. As you integrate the Breathwork experience over time, any inner change begins to reflect in transformation in your external world.
Take transformative steps forward toward lasting life changes
Breathwork is a gentle process that uses supports deep and profound healing and long-term growth including:
- Relief from anxiety, stress
- Release of irrational fear
- Lifting of depression
- Increased energy that combats feelings of being stuck and uninspired by your life
The obstacle is the way … the breath is the liberator